This past weekend the Virginia Flaggers celebrated their third anniversary of existence. Let’s enumerate the organization’s accomplishments during that time …
That’s right, three flags flying along interstate highways (damn symbols of federal power), with one of them visible to most people (the Burnside flag north of Fredericksburg). The Butler flag (Chester) remains a bit too short and a bit too close to an overpass for easy viewing, and I’ve seen no reports of how visible the Cold Harbor flag (hereafter the Judson Kilpatrick flag, in honor of his 1864 raid on Richmond) is from the road.
Oh, there have been some admirable acts of public service at cemeteries, and some entertainment provided for local and national media (I am not alone in finding the Flaggers to be entertaining). However, the raising of the Butler flag appears to have been the group’s high point (and not a very high one at that, judging from the height of the flag pole), for the erection of two additional flag poles has not drawn a lot of attention, although they are more visible than is Susan Hathaway at the VMFA.
Elsewhere, however, the Flaggers have failed to achieve their goals. No Confederate Battle Flags fly outside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, despite three years of protesting. The Museum of the Confederacy does not fly a Confederate Battle Flag at either its Richmond or Appomattox sites. Lexington, Virginia, continues to bar the flying of the Confederate flag on city light poles, and Confederate Battle Flags no longer adorn the Lee Chapel above the Edward Valentine tribute to Robert E. Lee.
Even some of the most visible Flaggers have assumed lower profiles, at least in certain places. Susan Hathaway no longer is a fixture on the sidewalk by the VMFA, while Tripp Lewis has failed to deliver upon his promise to sue various folks. At many Flagger functions the artful photography of Judy Smith fails to conceal the fact that there are more flags than Flaggers.
The Flaggers often ask whether people are angry enough yet. Perhaps it’s time to ask whether they are still awake. Still, happy anniversary, Virginia Flaggers. You’ve brought a lot of laughter into our lives. May this coming year be no different.