Wednesday, August 10, 2011

SCV Stands Fast to Protect Veterans Memorial

Protest over Confederate Flag at an Atlanta Cemetery
Wednesday, 10 Aug 2011,
Darryl Carver

ATLANTA - Some mourners at the funeral of SCLC Leader Howard Creecy noticed an image at his burial site which has them concerned. They believe a Confederate flag flying above a monument on the property just does not belong.

The Westview Cemetery is where some of the city's elite are buried. Everyone from former Mayor William Hartsfield to founders of Coca-Cola to notable Civil Rights Leaders have been laid to rest there. It also is home to a Confederate memorial to the 400 soldiers buried there.

Wednesday, protesters upset over the flag gathered at the cemetery to call for the removal of the flag.

"Many persons were upset and asked me to come and do something," said Rev. Benford Stellmacher.

Among those concerned are African-Americans who have loved ones buried here and want the flag to be removed.

"For me, it is just an affront to everything that has happened for civil rights and justice for all people that are concerned that this flag still hangs," said protester John H. Lewis.

Cemetery officials told FOX 5 they understand the sensitivities involved, but said they have sold the rights to a Confederate veterans group to erect and maintain the memorial of their choise a long time ago.

"I have no control over that, it is a memorial with over 4 hundred burials underneath it," said Westview Cemetery’s Charles Bowen, Jr.

"We're prepared to climb up there and take it down, put we want to do it in the spirit of cooperation and the spirit of Christ," said Rev. Stellmaker.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans told FOX 5 "Those flags have flown there for many years and will continue to fly there for many years honoring our Confederate heroes and Confederate dead. It is not a racial issue."

Still opponents said their fight is not over and will not be until the flag comes down.