Confederate Flag flies in East Texas
PALESTINE (KYTX) - A Confederate flag is now flying above the Anderson County courthouse. It was put there Friday morning in honor of Confederate History and Heritage Month. The flag flying is the first national flag of the Confederacy also known as the 'stars and bars'. The Sons of Confederate Veterans put the flag up at the Anderson County courthouse Friday morning during a special ceremony, but not everyone is happy about the flag flying in their county.
A symbol of the past is hoisted high above the Anderson County courthouse.
"It's a soldiers flag and that's what we pay honor to," explained Ronnie Hattfield. Five of his ancestors fought in the Civil War, three came home.
Friday, Hattfield honored them and the other 1000 soldiers who walked down Lacy Street in Palestine 150 years ago to go to war.
"About 100 yards from where we stand my great great grandfather got this flag from the citizens of Anderson County to walk down Lacy Street to go to war and he never came back," Hattfield said. "Today we have the opportunity to give the flag back to Anderson County and it's a great personal honor."
Honor, heritage, and celebrating ancestry.
"I'm so moved by this occasion," Dolley Jeffus said. "Our confederate ancestors have needed to be honored for so many years we're just so happy today."
But not everyone agrees. A handful of protestors held signs arguing the flag represents hate not heritage.
"This flag means hatred," said Kenneth Davidson with the NAACP. "Because we have seen people hung with this flag over their head."
Davidson said his ancestors were slaves. "I have no problem with celebrating heritage and their roots. I have a problem with the flag."
But Hattfield hopes the flag will encourage understanding through education, that could last for generations to come.
The flag will fly over the courthouse through the month of April. The Sons of Confederate Veterans are hoping this will become an annual event in Anderson County.
The Texas Legislature adopted a resolution that recognized April as Confederate History and Heritage Month March 30, 1999.