Confederate flag on I-95 in Stafford to be removed

A controversial Confederate flag that sits off of I-95 in Stafford County is coming down.

Hartwood District Supervisor Gary Snellings on Tuesday, Oct. 27 took to his Facebook page to announce that the 80-foot-tall Confederate battle flag that stands next to Interstate 95 near Falmouth will come down by the end of the week.

That post had been removed from the social media platform by day’s end, but another post made by Garrisonville District Supervisor Mark Dudenhefer corroborated Snellings’ announcement.

According to county officials, The Virginia Department of Transportation acquired the private property on which the flag stands through eminent domain for the I-95 Northbound Rappahannock River crossing project, which aims to replace four bridges at Exit 133, the I-95 and Route interchange, and add a third bridge span over the Rappahannock River.

VDOT acquired 10 parcels of land north of Exit 133 which will be used for a new ramp to a future extension of the 95 Express Lanes. One of them is a plot of land used by the Virginia Flaggers who raised the 80-foot Confederate battle flag in 2014. VDOT compensated the property owner for the land and The Flaggers as a tenant for the flagpole due to right-of-way requirements, according to county officials.

PLN is working to learn how much taxpayers paid for the parcel of land, and we’ll update this post when we have this information.

The confederate flag has been at the center of controversy since its raising in 2014. Residents, activists, and public officials have decried the flag’s existence but possible solutions were stymied for various legal reasons.

In September 2017, for example, then Stafford County Attorney Charles L. Shumate explained at a Board of Supervisors meeting why the county couldn’t remove the flag. Shumate explained that First Amendment and private property issues had tied the hands of the county, preventing the local government from removing the flag.

“If we were to, or this board were contrary to my legal advice, attempt to take down that flag flagpole on private property — this is not governmental property, it’s always a distinction there. If this was governmental property it could be handled differently. It is private property, privately owned, private flag, private poll,” stated Shumate in 2017.

Later on in that meeting, Shumate explained that any attempt to remove the battle flag would most likely be met with a lawsuit by The Virginia Flaggers. The Stafford County Board of Supervisors had also made attempts in the past to negotiate the removal of the flag with the landowners but were unsuccessful.

At a political review held by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) at the Fredericksburg Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library in October 2018, George Washington District Supervisor Tom Coen fielded questions from an audience which included the removal of the flag. Coen stated during that review that attempts at negotiation had been attempted by ultimately led nowhere.

As recently as July 2020 the Board of Supervisors looked at passing new ordinances on the height of flagpoles in the county that were believed could be applied to the battle flag. The resolution would have set the maximum flagpole height in residential/agricultural zones would be 35 feet, and the maximum height in commercial areas would be 65 feet. This would have affected the Confederate battle flag since it sat at a height of 80 feet.

It should be noted that during the aforementioned Sept. 2017 Board of Supervisors meeting Attorney Shumate acknowledged this idea and stated that this ordinance would probably not have the desired effect since the battle flag could be grandfathered into any such new ordinance:

“Many people have said you could “you just pass another zoning ordinance that reduces the height of the other flag. If you could do it in the proper way, you could do that. You could go to a [35-foot pole], you could go to [25-foot pole]. But this flagpole would be grandfathered it will become a non-conforming use and it will remain. You will not be able to reduce the height of this flagpole through a new zoning ordinance that you would pass so that pole and the flag on it would remain.”

22 thoughts on “Confederate flag on I-95 in Stafford to be removed

  1. Glad to see it come down, but let’s be honest. The method does not pass the smell test and I doubt a judge will look on it kindly. IF there is a lawsuit, and discovery finds out that the land was purposely bought under the guise of the construction project with the actual aim to get around the law and take the flag down….courts don’t like that sort of thing

    Also, exactly HOW is where that flag posted part of the construction project. It’s pretty far away from the highway, and the plans Ive seen don’t have anything going on over there.

    I’m all for keeping that thing down, but let’s not set a precedent that allows the government to infringe on free speech by taking your land. That’s terrible. The government you support today may not be the one you like when they come to take you land1

    1. Bob Jones we may see the meaning of the battle flag differently but we completely agree on this not passing the smell test. That was well said! When we play games to make an end run around peoples rights we are going down a path that leads to a situation where people no longer have any rights or freedoms. Thank you for that well stated post.

  2. The civil war is coming. It is sad, it is evil, but it is coming. A very silent majority of people will not surrender to mealy mouthed politicians and race baiters.
    Sic Semper Tyrannis

    1. I firmly believe that , until all white men are removed from the government and our history and anywhere else BLM wants they will not stop, and a civil war will come soon. Again this country will be torn apart and numerous lives will be murdered, so sad that we have bowed to this ignorance infecting our

  3. You know I am sick of the stuff that thing is on private property the flag is not harming anyone it doesn’t matter if it offends Black people it doesn’t matter if it offends white people from the north the sissies and snowflakes need to get over it. I don’t care if people who hate it only see it as a symbol of racism and treason and such. If there was no Civil War slavery and segregation most likely would’ve lasted longer., those slavery would’ve ended peacefully it would’ve ended peacefully for white people. Black people on the other hand would have been in misery their rights would’ve been restricted much more longer than they were. The national or Centra Government. The national or Central Government (namely the federal government was weak). Yes The south got everything they deserved in the American Civil War . But so did the north and the federal government . The north and the federal government deserved the treason they deserved all the death they deserved to be betrayed. If the war was about slavery If the world was about slavery (which it 100% wasn’t but still slavery was the central cause) then the north in the central government which was weak at the time insisted that the southern states back in the 1790s stay in the union. When the southern states threaten to leave because the US Constitution was not going to protect slavery, The central government or the federal government shouldn’t have agreed to protect slavery. And they let the south spread slavery westward. I believe if the south was permitted to go, they would’ve temporarily left while slavery would have diminished and they would’ve come right back in the union and thus we would have prevented a Civil War. And besides the photo for slavery was between the anti-slavery republican party in the proslavery Democrat party north and south. It was not a fight between the citizens and the soldiers of the north and south. The Democrats are the ones who committed treason against the United States to protect slavery. The citizens of the north and south who were non-members of either the Democrat or the Republican Party, we’re fighting for the two reasons. Those slavery was the central cause, civil War historian James McPherson says the Civil War determined what type of nation the United States would be. Slavery was a fundamental cause of the war which started the war. He did say that the war more than anything was about slavery. But he also makes note of the fact that the north fought because they believed in an indivisible nation with a sovereign national government. The South Fought because they saw the United States is the dissolvable confederation of sovereign states. This fighting over what type of nation the United States would be stems from the Jeffersonian vs Hamiltonian Debate over what type of nation the United States would be. So therefore there were two not one fundamental issues that we’re involved in the American Civil War. So we as American citizens that support confederate symbols have every right to display them on our private property. I don’t care if a lot of them were put up during the time of Jim Crowe and the myth of the lost cause. By the way the Democrats are the ones who enacted Jim Crowe and made up the myth of the lost cars not the south. Although most of the Democratic party was primarily in the south some of it was in the north. I’m talking about the strength of the Democrat party. But the citizens of the south did obviously take part in supporting Jim Crow. These confederate symbols should also stand as reminders that Jim Crowe is dead and that Lincoln for gave these people. We have every right to display our confederate symbols. Our rights should not be stripped away. It may be painful for Black people but it’s painful for us to remove them. But come on this is not Jim Crowe Black people are very successful it’s a myth to say that they’re not successful and they’re being discriminated against just as much as ever therefore it’s very much like Jim Crow??? it’s a myth!!! No I’m sorry that some Black people feel pain but it’s much more painful to be physically and mentally and emotionally persecuted by a person rather than a bunch of symbols. It’s very selfish of these liberals and leftists blacks and whites including white southerners that support these things. Very selfish and very unfair that we have to comply with their feelings. But it goes beyond the hatred of confederate symbols they hate the United States flag and other US symbols as well they hate the United States. The Democrats have teamed up with the radical leftists socialists. Marxists, Communists and progressives because they hate the United States they want a new vision for the United States and everyone must yield “down with conservativism up with liberalism and leftism.” Ridiculous nonsense to Ridiculous nonsense to “Not let a crisis go to waste. “ We must be “politically correct,” sad and pathetic. But go ahead you guys think we’re racist and we’re a bunch of Neo confederate revisionists. YOU’RE the revisionists you’re the liars.

    1. Tony , There are many of us from the north that value the freedoms we have or at least once had we even agree with most of what you are putting down so watch your generalization of calling us sissy and snow flakes those people are coming from the city’s which there is only one of up here in the north I dont like that shit either and you better realize that most of the whining about the battle flag is coming from the south and yes its echoed from all the liberal centers. I can tell you right now where I live is not a liberal center. I wouldn’t be too surprised if a 2nd Civil War is coming but its not going to be North vs South it will be about Socilism vs the Republic, suppression vs freedom, or to put it more directly liberals vs Conservatives. So realize who is on your side its not the liberal living in Florida or Atlanta ect its the conservative from Indiana ect. We get what your putting down were saying the same thing so get over your north south crap. Btw I see more rebel flags in Indiana then I do in the south today. Why because we beleive it isvthe right of the people to fly whatever flag they want as long as it Flys under the United States flag.

  4. These HATERS in this country are sickening, they want everyone to accept their Heritage and freedoms but dont want to accept ours. Heres a idea for you haters , IF YOU DONT LIKE THIS AREA ( THE SOUTH ) THEN YOU ARE MORE THAN WELCOME TO LEAVE .I will never surrender my Confederate Flag that flies proudly on my porch.

        1. There were just as many slave owners up north as there was in the South my family was in Long Island New York in the 1790s and they owned slaves

  5. Let us never forget men and women who fought under that flag who by their steadfast resistance checked the power of the federal get vernment. Without their sacrifice we would never have known this brief taste of freedom that we have enjoyed and sadly have allowed to be eroded perhaps beyond repair. For my brothers of color who are so offended who benefitted greatly from the relative benign slavery please learn the truth of the great good fortune of their ancestors being saved from certain death. After all, could any any of them have been better off as mortar in a mosque? I am proud of the 1.3% Rwandan genes I received from King Sagan through the Capetian dynasty just as I am of the .7% I received from my 12th great-grandmother, Pocahontas. Let God continue to work his miracle in this great land as he does work in mysterious ways!!!!

  6. Yall take one down two will rise .we are making shore of it. I have 2 35 ft flag poles with Confederate battle flags on my property . its private property so not shit yall can do .

  7. Delaware a Yankee State ! Was a slave state until February 12th 1901 36 year’s after the end of the war the north loved slavery far more than the south ever did !

  8. Why so mamy arguments about a historic flag that was our second national flag? Whay if instead of having the Confederate flag in that location there was a discovery of an archeological native settlement? Wake up people! It is our history, none of us were slaves or owned slaves!!!

  9. Drove by “the flag” many, many times returning from my old home in NY to my adopted home here in Virginia. It was always a pleasure to see it waving in the breeze or lit up at night. I knew I was home, the good life..
    We have been here for 27 years and welcomed lots more Yankees but have never heard of anyone moving North
    Too bad this place is getting like the one we were glad to leave.

  10. What? I just don’t understand. Buildings, schools, & highways have been re-named. Statues have been removed or torn-down. The I-95 flag is gone. Why didn’t those actions solve America’s issues? (that’s not really a question). We’re already on the “slippery slope” and the only way to stop America’s slide into mob-rule & socialism is…

    1. It’s a damn shame to the flag taken down in many brave southern men and boys died for that flag. I had three third great grandfather’s that fought for the confederacy,not one of them had a slave.

  11. That flag is a scapegoat for the weak. Sheep that have no Shepard they have no alligience to any flag becouse it was removed with prayer .and our gov. Took away that right now there lost.

  12. Slavery should have never been started; it was just greed for free labor, just like the communist countries…..nor the so called american constitution was a bunch of bull.

  13. Wow so many racists. Fools, it’s not the actual Confederate flag you uneducated dotards. It’s an army battle flag that didn’t represent the confederacy but just one of many battle flags. This one actually wasn’t liked because on a battlefield it looked too much like the American flag.

    It’s a losers flag. Promoted by losers that can’t get over failed traitors killed American soldiers.

    The same filthy people that claim there rights to speech are being repressed can’t get past the idea the only reason they aren’t shot as traitor sympathizers is the first amendment they claim is being infringed.

  14. First they confiscate the private property then they force further limitations on flags that had represented millions of Americans. It stinks of dirty corrupt government politics. In all fairness and equity, the flag should be relocated to a location of equal prominence.

    We are already beginning to see the same attacks on the US flag for the same reason. People are beginning to recognize that all the slaves were brought to America under either the US or British flags. People are beginning to realize the US had more slave states (11) than the Confederacy (7) when the war began on April 12, 1861. They are beginning to recognize Lincoln was more racist than Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy was simply trying to divorce itself from an increasingly money hungry, aggressive central government. They are beginning to recognize the Confederacy had every right to seek Independence and were invaded and coerced to remain by deadly, destructive, military troops sent by northern Yankee government. Sadly, the north was “mad and blind” 160 years ago when it attacked and waged war on Americans and nothing has really changed after all these years.

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