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Va. city passes Confederate flag ban

Sept. 2, 2011 at 4:01 PM
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LEXINGTON, Va., Sept. 2 (UPI) -- The council in Lexington, Va., has approved an ordinance that would ban flying Confederate flags from downtown poles.

The measure would also bar any flags except those of the United States, the state of Virginia and the city from the Veterans' Memorial Bridge, The News-Gazette of Lexington reported. The ordinance passed 4-1 Thursday.

Lexington in western Virginia near the West Virginia line is best known as the home of Washington and Lee College and the Virginia Military Institute and as the place where Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson are buried. Its history includes a Union raid on VMI.

The ordinance was inspired by protests after Confederate flags were flown downtown and on the bridge on Lee-Jackson Day in January.

Before Thursday's meeting, about 100 people attended a protest rally organized by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Earlier in the day, H.K. Edgerton, a former leader of the NAACP in North Carolina, led a biracial march, also in support of the right to fly the Confederate flag.

The route included a cemetery where former slaves with ties to the Confederate military are buried.

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