Sunday, May 11, 2014


Group wants to see Confederate battle flag fly at cemetery
Banner was pulled from site in '03.

A group interested in the putting the Confederate battle flag up full-time over the cemetery at the Confederate Memorial Historic Site in Higginsville is boosting their advocacy efforts by reaching out to a few state legislators.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group of people whose ancestors were Confederate soldiers, are hoping to let the battle flag fly once again after an absence of more than 10 years at the cemetery site.
"They are Confederate veterans," Maples said about those laid to rest in the cemetery. "They are representatives of all 13 Confederate states. They fought under that flag, and we think it should be put back up in honor of that."
The Confederate battle flag — the most commonly recognized flag from the South during the Civil War — was removed in 2003 under an order from then-Gov. Bob Holden, a Democrat. Holden's order came after then-Democratic presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt, who was from Missouri, said the battle flag should not be flown anywhere, according to previous Associated Press reports.
Two years later, then-Gov. Matt Blunt, a Republican, ordered the Confederate flag to fly on Confederate Memorial Day on June 7. A spokesman at the time said the governor supported review of whether the flag should fly regularly.
There has been little discussion about the issue since Blunt's decision in 2005, until now.
Wade Ankesheiln, historic interpreter at the Higginsville site, said the flag has only flown on "a couple of occasions with special permission" after Blunt's 2005 decision. Otherwise, the flagpole that previously was inside the cemetery boundaries has been moved elsewhere at the historic site.
He said the United States and Missouri state flags are the only two that fly on that pole, and have been for years.
Ankesheiln said on Confederate Memorial Day, there is a "flag plaza" that's set up with examples of multiple flags from the Civil War and the Confederacy, including the battle flag.
Maples said he and the other members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans pooled together their resources, along with some money from the organization, to put up a billboard near the Higginsville exit on westbound Interstate 70.
Maples said the group is interested in the flag flying below the U.S. and Missouri flags, which he called "perfectly proper." "We'd like to see it return permanently because you would really, really have to want to go see this place to actually see it," Maples said. "It's really off the beaten path. There are even signs that point out what it is. So you ought to know what's coming when you're going to the Confederate memorial cemetery."
Maples and a few others met with state Reps. Glen Kolkmeyer, R-Odessa, John Mayfield, D-Independence, and Warren Love, R-Osceola, yesterday. The memorial site is in Kolkmeyer's district. "They wanted to know if we'd be willing to sit down, which we were, and so we listened to what they had to say," Kolkmeyer said.
Maples said he hopes this is one of many meetings. He also said he understands there isn't much the legislators can do with this week being the final one of the legislative session — he's just happy to get the word out.
Current state law neither allows nor prohibits the battle flag flying in state parks like the Higginsville site. The law only mentions the U.S., Missouri, POW/MIA and Honor and Remember flags.
When asked if Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon would consider giving the OK for the flag to be flown again, spokesman Scott Holste said in an email Friday that "the Governor sees no reason to depart from the current practice."