Letter to the Editor — Flag rules arose due to Confederate Flag

Published 12:30 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2022

To the Editor:

The large Confederate Flag flying just outside of Farmville will stay, thanks to the Prince Edward County Board of Zoning Appeals’ refusal to allow its removal. If this flag had been, just about any other flag Prince Edward County would not have looked at it twice. However, since it is a Confederate Battle Flag, I believe the county decided to persecute the people responsible for legally exercising their First Amendment Rights. The board did everything it could to have the flag and pole removed. The Virginia Flaggers obtained the permit in December 2021, four months before the flag went up. Yet, a week after the flag was raised, the county instituted an emergency ordinance to reduce the height of flagpoles and the size of flags allowed to fly in the county, grandfathering all existing flags and flagpoles. (Now that ordinance is in effect permanently.) The county also took issue with the flag and pole for a number of other reasons, saying it wasn’t about content, but the law. A number of complaints about the flag made their way to the board of supervisors, who immediately made it impossible to put up any more large flags. This restrictive height limit of 20 foot poles and the 5-foot by 8-foot flag limit are a direct result of this large Confederate Flag; it was about content. Almost no other flag would have triggered such a response from a local government. The more governments try to censor the Confederate Flag, the more large Confederate Flags you will see. Not just in Farmville or Virginia, but across the South and the U.S. as well.

Walter Ring

New Kent