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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: Virginia Belle needs HELP!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Virginia Belle needs HELP!

We have a young lady who has taken up some serious Flagging.

Here name is Susan Frise Hathaway, and has been making some noise in Richmond and Lexington Virginia.

Right now we need to get some real men and other ladies out there with her and support her with actual deeds, not just kind words on a facebook page.

Her page

Contact this courageous VA Belle HERE and join the fight!

So far the men seem to be fine allowing her to go it alone in downtown Richmond.

Can y'all help and join this Lady Flagger of Old Virginia?????

Thanks and God Bless,



For me, it all started with the Save Our Flags Rally in Lexington. Billy was instrumental in helping me get started with an online petition and we worked to spread the word online, mostly through FaceBook. Estimated 300+ attended. Billy and CC Lesters got there early and flagged locations through the town, and stopped in Reidsville to flag the spot where the Confederate Statue was removed on their way home. I came after work and attended the rally…

…and spoke at the Council meeting.

Madame Mayor, Council Members, Lexington residents, and guests. I wish to begin by thanking you for the opportunity to address you all on the subject of the proposed ordinance that would ban the flying of Confederate flags from city light poles in celebration of Lee-Jackson day in Lexington.

My name is Susan Hathaway. I am not a Lexington resident. I drove from Richmond after work today to humbly represent those of us who, although we do not call Lexington home, consider it “our” town, as well. My father brought me here as a child, to pay honor to the memory of two of the greatest Virginians that ever lived. We visited their graves, and he taught my brother, my sister, and I, the importance of honoring our history and remembering the brave men who answered the call of duty in defense of Virginia. Years later, I brought my own children here, as well, aspiring to teach them the same valuable lessons.

I understand that the proposed ordinance is a result of the complaints of approx. 300 people who claimed they were offended by the flags that flew during the week leading up to Lee-Jackson Day this past January. With your permission, I would like to present a petition opposing this ordinance, signed by over 1600 individuals…FIVE times as many as the original petition that led to this ordinance…people like me…potential tourists, eager to visit the final resting place of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. My daughter and I attended the Lee-Jackson Day services in January. We stayed at the Lexington Inn, spent time and money in your shops and enjoyed dining in several local restaurants. By my receipts, we spent over $500, money that went directly into the pockets of Lexington merchants.

I know others have made, and will make the arguments about how ridiculous it is to let the rants of a few misinformed, prejudiced people make policy for a town that owes its very existence to these two men, so I will just say this… Those of us who, without malice toward any race, creed, or nationality, choose to honor our Confederate Ancestors and the sacrifice they made, are no longer willing to sit by quietly and allow their honor and memory to be denigrated!

If this ordinance is passed, I will use my sphere of influence and personally spearhead a boycott of Lexington. We will still gather to honor and celebrate these great men, but I will do everything in my power to make sure that everyone from New York to Florida with any interest in the War Between the States is made aware that the town that once accepted the sacred duty as the honored caretakers of our the final resting places of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, now despises the association and does not welcome us or our “tainted” money.

I lost my father a few months ago, after an extended illness. He was an amazing example to me of a Christian gentleman in every aspect of his life, and one of the most important things he taught me was to ALWAYS stand firm for what I know is right. It is in his memory, and the memory of so many others who have gone before him, that I stand before you today and respectfully request that if you came to this meeting determined to cast a vote in favor of this ordinance, that you reconsider, ignore the political pressures that you may be facing, and do the RIGHT thing…speak for those who no longer have a voice, and stand for those long buried, who…at least as long as I have breath,…will NOT be forgotten!

Both experiences were life changing for me…

Top 10 things I learned in Lexington last night…

10) Michael Lucas is a tall drink of water, Kelly Hinson is even prettier in person, Jamie Funkhouser and C.C. Lesters are two of the nicest young men I have met, Billy Bearden is not nearly as vociferous as he claims to be, and if your FB profile pic is over 10 years old, you might want to update it, so we will recognize you!

9) If you are going to be out in public with one of our flags, make it an historical one and educate yourself on what you are carrying and why so when people ask you are ready to answer…politely and accurately.

8) If I’m going to take up this flagging thing, I need to find an outfit with shoulder pads! Battle scars after only a few hours of toting a flag…SHEEEESH!

7) The men of the Lexington Police and Fire are some of the nicest folks I have ever met.

6) The meaning of the word Hegemony: : the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group…(see Timothy Manning, I did go look it up.)

5) The people of Lexington need a WHOLE LOT of education about the flags of the Confederacy and what they represent.

4) Those who are supposedly on the same side of an issue should get together and make sure their talking points are at least similar. The City attorney spent an awful lot of time explaining how the ordinance was specifically designed to eliminate the possibility of the SCV flying their flags from city light poles, in spite of the fact that the Mayor and City Manager had been telling the press for weeks that the ordinance was NOT specifically designed to ban the Confederate flag from city light poles.

3) NEVER trust a Lexingtonian who starts off their speech by “claiming” their Confederate ancestors…because… mark my words… there is a “BUT” or “HOWEVER” coming pretty soon thereafter…

2) If you are going to be herded into an overcrowded building and have to stand for several hours, packed together like sardines and sweating like a sinner on judgment day, there are no better people to be surrounded by than the ones I was with in Lexington last night.

...and the number one thing I learned...

1) Regardless of how much the deck is stacked against you, how much the outcome is predetermined, or how inconvenient it may seem at the time, it is ALWAYS the right thing to stand up and speak out for what is right.

When I got home, Billy and I continued to talk, e-mail, plan (well, mostly just me bugging the heck out of him with a million questions), and organize, starting with some of those who had attended the rally. Within the week, we had organized a group, Virginia Flaggers, and Brandon Dorsey of the Stonewall Brigade began a weekly flagging of Lexington, each Thursday at Noon.

Last week was the fourth consecutive week and it looks like his numbers are growing each week.

Last Saturday, (October 1st) I finally had everything I needed together and did my first flagging here in Richmond, at the Pelham Chapel/Confederate War Memorial, against the VMFA’s removal of the battle flags off of the portico.

Twenty years after Gen. Robert E. Lee rode into Appomattox and surrendered his tattered army, ending the War Between the States, a memorial chapel was built in Richmond in memory of the 260,000 Confederate soldiers who died during the conflict.. The Pelham Chapel – Confederate War Memorial is designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S., and has been granted the status of Confederate Monument by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The organ in the chapel was donated by a group of Union veterans from Lynn, Mass. One of the contributors to the soldiers' home that surrounded the chapel was Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. And a Union private from Massachusetts donated his annual pension to support the home.

A pair of Confederate flags had flown over the Confederate Memorial Chapel in Richmond since 1887. Those two flags did not trouble the Union soldiers who donated the organ to the chapel; nor did they trouble Ulysses S. Grant. They were placed there by Confederate Veterans, to memorialize the Confederate dead, and honor the living.

Fast forward 150 years…on the eve of the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the War Between the States, June 1st, 2010, these two Confederate Battle Flags were forcibly removed from the Memorial by a restriction in the lease renewal, at the insistence of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

This is in direct violation of Virginia law, which clearly states: “it shall be unlawful for the authorities of the locality, or any other person or persons, to disturb or interfere with any monuments or memorials so erected, or to prevent its citizens from taking proper measures and exercising proper means for the protection, preservation and care of same. For purposes of this section, "disturb or interfere with" includes removal of, damaging or defacing monuments or memorials, or, in the case of the War Between the States, the placement of Union markings or monuments on previously designated Confederate memorials or the placement of Confederate markings or monuments on previously designated Union memorials.” (§ 15.2-1812)
As citizens of Virginia and descendants of Confederate soldiers who gallantly answered Virginia’s call to defend her, we demand that the VMFA remove these blatantly prejudicial restrictions and allow the Confederate Battle Flags to once again fly on the Confederate War Memorial.

The following Monday (October 3rd) , the group got word that Steven Spielberg was coming to the Executive Mansion and a who’s who of Virginia’s finest was coming to celebrate the Richmond location for the upcoming “Lincoln” movie. We scrambled and had a contingency at the event. Two flagged the perimeter…

And two of us greeted guests as they arrived…

(That's former Governor Wilder in the Benz)

Saturday, (October 8th) I went back to the Chapel.

BEAUTIFUL day in the Capital of the Confederacy, as you can see in this pic from earlier this afternoon. It was the only photo I got with my blackberry today, as I was flying solo with no one to take photos. Had many conversations. Most were receptive to hear what I had to say and many agreed with the point of the protest.

There were a few obscenities screamed... out of car windows or from bike riders (I am learning that the favorite word of the uneducated starts with an F and rhymes with truck), but they were the exception to the rule. Most were friendly waves, honks, or shouts of support.

I gave out about two dozen flyers and spoke with about 25 people total. Best conversation was with a black man who asked to take my picture. We ended up talking in depth about use of flag during civil rights, days, etc… He was pretty defensive to start, but by the end of the convo, took my email and said he would send me pic. The worst was a couple who tried to hurry past. Not going to happen on my watch…I smile and say “good afternoon”. She turns on her heels (never stops walking) and starts shouting “Why are you doing this? You are a creepy (female dog)! The war is over you loser” “I’d love to discuss it with you” I say when she takes a breath. “In your dreams (female dog)” she shouts, jumps in car, slams door and pulls out like bat outta hell. As they pull away, I check the tags on the BMW and it all makes sense…NEW YORK!

Other highlights are the kids…when they walk up and ask about the flag, I don’t go into all the details, just tell them “because my Great-Great Grandaddy was a soldier and fought for this flag and for Virginia and I am very proud of him”. “Cool!” they usually shout (or something like that) and run off.

For the last several days, Mr. Beters has been pestering me for an explanation of why I am a flagger. Walking and talking today, I realized that although I could write a three page essay on the subject, I can sum it up best this way…

As the direct descendant of 4 Confederate Soldiers, I feel it is my duty to speak for those who do not have a voice, my honor to stand up for those long buried who cannot defend themselves, and I truly believe that God has placed me in this moment and given me the knowledge, gifts, talents and courage that allow a chance to make a difference…for such a time as this.

That’s where you find us. Thanks to Billy's encouragement, mentorship and inspiration, we currently have 15 people in the “group.” …and I am confident that as word spreads, more people will join.


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