Wednesday September 12, 2007
The Old House Chamber has been shut down for a while now and is set to re-open before the sesquicentennial of the start of the Civil War. When it does re-open, you won't see the Confederate Battle Flag on display. Instead the Second National Flag, a white banner with the stars and bars in the upper left-hand corner, will be put out to remind Virginians of the state's heritage.
"We believe that Virginia's confederate soldiers deserve recognition and commemoration for their service in Virginia's hour of need," says Lee Scouten with Charlottesville's camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Scouten says either flag will do that. The decision to pull the Battle Flag is that of House Speaker William Howell. He says the Second National Flag was actually adopted in Richmond in 1863 and therefore is more tied to the state's history.
But not everyone from the SCV is buying that. National SCV Board Member Brag Bowling told us in an interview:
"This is the brainchild of House Speaker William Howell. We view it as more political correctness...it's an unneccessary fight he picked with the SCV. It's disgusting to see the weakness of our leadership."
While the opinions differ on how the commonwealth honors its confederate veterans, there's one aspect all SCV members agree on.
"What we are really concerned about is that after the sesquicentennial is over with, say 2015, that or other confederate flags may surreptitiously disappear," Scouten says. "[W]e need to be vigilant about that."