Happy Birthday, Virginia Flaggers!

The Virginia Flaggers were established on September 5, 2011.

Flagger cornerstone

Now, before we get started, I’d like to point out a minor correction to how the Flaggers summarize the history of the Old Soldiers Home in Richmond:

Confederate flags had flown over the grounds since the opening of the Old Soldiers Home in 1885. Those flags did not trouble the Union soldiers who donated the organ to the chapel; nor did they trouble Ulysses S. Grant.

The Old Soldiers Home (which, I should point out, is not the chapel) opened on January 1, 1885. Ulysses S. Grant died later that year, and in fact never left New York state during 1885.  He never visited the home, and there’s no evidence that he said anything about the display of such flags … or that he even knew they were on display.

But then it’s never been about history, just “heritage.”

So what have the Flaggers achieved in the two years of their existence?

Not a great deal, and certainly nothing when it comes to the major items on their agenda.

Their efforts to compel the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to place flags mounted on the outside of the Confederate Memorial Chapel have failed. In fact, they refused to support a compromise proposal offered by Kevin Levin.

Their efforts to reverse a ordinance in Lexington, Virginia, banning the flying of certain banners on city flagpoles failed. Indeed, the mayor who supported the ordinance was reelected by a larger majority.

Their efforts to force the Museum of the Confederacy to fly a Confederate flag outside its new facility in Appomattox, Virginia, failed (and in fact the Flaggers no longer bother with the museum).

Their efforts to force a confrontation at the VMFA led to the arrest of Flagger Tripp Lewis.

Perhaps their most embarrassing setback happened when Flagger leader Susan Hathaway had to admit she was duped by a false report that a filmmaker working with the Flaggers, Rob Walker, had fended off two people attempting to vandalize a Confederate monument.

Not a lot to brag about over two years … and then, of course, there’s this …


… where the Flaggers openly embraced white supremacist Matthew Heimbach, with spokesperson Connie Chastain repeatedly fumbling the story while Susan Hathaway remained silent, unwilling to disavow him.

The Flaggers hope to reverse the course of their own history later this month with their newest enterprise: erecting a fifty-foot flagpole along I-95 south of Richmond upon which they plan to fly a large Confederate flag. This achievement will mark their first significant success. Of course, next to no one driving by the flagpole will have the faintest idea what the flag represents (although I’m sure those Flaggers who live in the area will drive by it a lot). Others who associate the flag in question with resistance to the civil rights movement or as the flag of a government founded upon the cornerstone of slavery and human inequality will find it a deplorable sight, and certainly not the right way to welcome people to Virginia’s capital. But the flagpole project will be an accomplishment, and the Flaggers will try to make the most of it by claiming that they thwarted efforts to stop their project in its tracks. Of course, most of the people who voiced opposition (or even simply mocked) the whole idea never tried to prevent its erection. Again, folks, it’s “heritage,” not history, so the fact that the Flaggers got their facts wrong is no surprise.

Some Flaggers have promised us that this is only the beginning. I can’t wait.

The Flaggers say that their actions “are changing hearts and minds in the Capital of the Confederacy!” Perhaps, but the result has not always been what they intended or desired. Many hearts and minds have been mobilized in opposition to the project, starting with an online petition.

Stay tuned.

9 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Virginia Flaggers!

  1. Corey Meyer September 5, 2013 / 1:43 pm

    I will admit that the flaggers did not know that Matt Heimbach was who he was when the photo was taken back in Feb. 2012. However, now that who he is and what he stands for has been shown, if the flaggers are really the opposite of him as they say, they are sure slow and silent when it comes to distancing themselve from him and his message. But then again, Tripp Lewis has embraced him as a “good guy”. Susan’s lack of response is telling. Connie’s excuses are typical and speak volumes on what she believes.

    Why do they not just come out and say that they were not aware of who he was other than someone wanting to join in their flaggings. Are they afraid they will hurt his feelings denouncing him? I doubt he will bat an eyelash at it…I am sure he is used to it. Are the Va. Flaggers really wanting people to draw their own conclusions?

  2. Betty Giragosian September 5, 2013 / 5:20 pm

    Well said.

  3. Jim September 6, 2013 / 9:29 am

    Are there any local VA polls about the I95 big flag.

  4. Billy Bearden September 6, 2013 / 9:42 am

    I have already spoken earlier on a slightly more civilized flog that Heimbach’s use of a CBF at Dexter is inappropriate. I have also stated that in Feb 2012, he was to us just a guy who wished to walk in the SCV parade and join our entry. All his radical stuff is apparently post Feb 2012. He may be on the Confederate Flaggers page, but that is separate from the Va Flagger page of which he is not a member of.

    Haters deal in emotions. What is going on here @ Crossroads is no different than what Sharpton and Jackson has done with Brawley, Jena6, Duke Lacrosse and Zimmerman. As Dave Tatum has rightfully suggested, is 1st Lady Rosalynn Carter a supporter of serial murders for her pic with Gacy?

    • Brooks D. Simpson September 6, 2013 / 10:11 am

      I’ll simply note that Billy Bearden has expressed no argument with Mr. Heimbach’s views, and that his information on chronology is inaccurate. I’ll also point out that none of the Flaggers have repudiated their association with him or his views, including the leader of the Flaggers, Susan Hathaway.

      Haters sure deal with emotions, and Bearden’s final paragraph is a perfect example of that practice. So far he’s only been honest about being a hater.

    • Andy Hall September 6, 2013 / 10:32 am

      I myself would not have made an analogy between Matt Heimbach and a convicted and executed serial killer. If Tatum wants to, though, that’s his prerogative.

      But it’s a bad analogy, anyway. The Carter administration never presented John Wayne Gacy with a medal for distinguished service, as far as I know, and once he was arrested and charged, Rosalynn Carter never publicly praised him as “a good guy,” and said she didn’t want to get involved in his “personal issues.” I and others have said (repeatedly) that we don’t believe the Flaggers actively share those views, though it does appear they’re not too bothered by them, either.

      Heimback’s nastiness at Towson was well-reported-upon by the spring of 2012. The SCV would do well to consider formally and publicly revoking the medal it presented him, and drumming his national Socialist butt out of the organization. Every day he remains a member, and holds that medal, erodes the status of the organization, its members, and those who hold similar awards.

      Finally, I again ask, what “distinguished service” did Matt Heimbach perform for the SCV? If it’s important enough for the Flaggers to brag about the medal, surely they can explain what it was for.

    • Andy Hall September 6, 2013 / 10:36 am

      Interesting too, Billy, that you repeatedly characterize me and other bloggers you dislike as “haters,” but the actions of the Nazi fanboy whose wardrobe includes swastika t-shirts (along with those from Dixie Outfitters) is merely “inappropriate.”

    • Hunter Wallace September 6, 2013 / 1:41 pm

      The photos in Montgomery at the MLK church were taken in June 2012 and June 2013. I was there on both occasions.

  5. Betty Giragosian January 16, 2014 / 5:01 am

    General Grant did make a gift of $500.00 towards the building of the R. E. Lee Camp. Whether it was used for the purchase of the organ, I do not know. He was quite ill at the time that he made his donation. No, he never visited the camp Some years ago, chapters in the Virginia Division UDC made contributions towards the restoration of Grant’s Tomb, in recognition of his kindness towards the Confederate Veterans of R. E. Lee Camp No 1

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