2014 – Va Flaggers Year In Review
On a recent trip to Texas, a gentleman asked Susan, “When you stepped out on the sidewalk with that flag, did you ever have any idea that you would be flying to Texas just three short years later to talk to us about everything that has happened since?” Her honest and sincere answer was “never in a million years!”
The pace at which we have grown and been able to accomplish so much is truly phenomenal, and we give thanks first to God, who gives us strength, and has prepared a way for us to be used by Him and for His purposes and glory. Our success and continued growth is due almost entirely to the dedication, commitment, and hard work of a small, but determined group of people who make up the Va Flaggers, and the prayers and support of thousands who encourage and inspire us daily.
Like MANY of you, our folks have been busy, and we want to share just a glimpse of what we have been up to…
In 2014, the Va Flaggers continued our ongoing protests of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where museum officials forced the removal of Confederate Battle Flags from the Confederate Memorial Chapel, logging over 2,500 hours of Flagging on the Boulevard in Richmond. During this time, we were able to talk with thousands of citizens about the situation at the Chapel, the honor of our Confederate Veterans, and the truth about the flags under which they fought and died. In doing so, we have effectively changed the landscape in Richmond, assuring that Confederate flags are seen, and seen OFTEN on the streets of Richmond.
In January, we had over 100 folks attend the two day flagging we organize each year in Lexington, VA to protest the flag ban there. We have had a presence in Lexington at Washington and Lee almost every weekend since the flags were removed from the mausoleum of the LEE Chapel, and continue to do what we can from Richmond to assist with the restoration of the flags there. We lent our assistance to our friends in Danville when a memorial and flag on the grounds of the Sutherlin mansion were threatened, and were thrilled at the victory that was achieved there!
Susan had the privilege and honor of being invited to speak at and attend Confederate services, meetings, and engagements in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Maryland, West Virginia, and across the Commonwealth. Each engagement brought new friends and supporters, and helped to encourage others to take a stand for the honor and memory of our Confederate ancestors.
In May, we quietly raised another Interstate Battle Flag Memorial, this time a 20’ X 30’ flag on a 90’ pole near Fredericksburg, VA. In June, we installed a battle flag at Savage’s Station in Henrico County. Work continued at the Chester flag site to dramatically improve visibility, and the process to add lighting has begun. Lighting was completed and is now operational at the Fredericksburg site. We acquired additional poles through reclamation and have a half dozen additional flag sites under development, heading into 2015.
Throughout the year, Flaggers attended dozens of memorial services, including traveling to Point Lookout for the Annual Pilgrimage where Susan was the keynote speaker, as well as many, many other local and nearby events. We saw the formation of other flagging groups across the South, and have assisted with their organization and activities as much as possible, and have lent a hand with other heritage defense issues when help was requested. We also were and are active in clean-up projects in several local cemeteries, and were proud to organize and carry out the return of the Confederate Memorial Day service at Oakwood Cemetery in Richmond in May, with a wonderful program and over 100 persons in attendance.
We set up a booth again this year at the annual Shad Planking in Wakefield, as well as at several gun/Civil War shows and War Between the States Events. We continued our flagging of the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission’s “Custermobile” at every opportunity, providing a Confederate presence and sharing the truth about the War and the men who defended Virginia from invasion. We participated in several parades, including the Mechanicsville Christmas parade, and over the course of the year, gave away or placed on graves over 3,456 stick flags.
We were excited to acquire several drones and have been field testing them and training operators for use in heritage defense and preservation operations. We celebrated our third anniversary with over 100 supporters at a picnic and an auction which raised enough money to replace the I-95 flag at Fredericksburg! We received a large US Flag and donated it to the Va War Memorial, and honored our own Veterans at a ceremony there.
Through contributions from our Flaggers, we supported efforts including the NC SCV/MC Flags across North Carolina, the Sally Tompkins OCR tombstone fund, the Va War Memorial, the Mattie Clyburn Rice tombstone fund, sent funds to help restore a flag site that was vandalized in Waco, TX, and assisted with other worthy funds and projects.
Sadly, 2014 also saw the loss of two of our own, with the tragic deaths of Sgt. Cliff Troutman in January, and Floyd “Trey” Tate in October. We are still hurting from these losses, but will carry their memories with us as and are inspired by their dedication and commitment as we move forward.
The Va Flaggers look back on 2014 and are overwhelmed at all that was accomplished, and overcome with gratitude for each and every person who gave of their time, talents, and resources to make it happen. As much as we have to be thankful for, we look forward to 2015 with even more excitement and hope that with the blessings of our Creator, and the cheering on of a great cloud of witnesses, 2015 will be the year that the flags will be returned to the Confederate Memorial Chapel in Richmond and the LEE Chapel in Lexington, and that Southerners across Virginia and beyond decided to take a stand for our Confederate Heritage, and push back against those who would desecrate our memorials and dishonor the memory of our Confederate dead.
We have only just begun to fight. Will you join us?
*Fredericksburg I-95 Flag photo design, courtesy of David Tatum