Officials in this city where Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson are buried are considering limits on downtown flag-flying, including the Confederate flag, angering defenders of the divisive Southern symbol.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans organized a rally ahead of a scheduled public hearing Thursday night and an expected vote. Organizers of the "Save our Flags" rally are offering free hot dogs and music, have lined up speakers and distributed a flyer with a drawing of Lee, a tear rolling down his cheek.
"We're prepared for 300," said Brandon Dorsey, commander of Camp 1296 of the Stonewall Brigade of the Confederate Veterans. "We could have more, we could have less."
Officials in this college town of 7,000 insist the flag limits are not aimed at the Confederate flag. The proposal would limit the use of downtown poles to the flying of the U.S., Virginia and Lexington flags. It would not restrict the display of the Confederate flag elsewhere in the city.
"They can carry their flags anywhere they want," City Manager T. Jon Ellestad. The city received hundreds of complaints the last time Confederate flags were planted in holders on lights poles, in January to mark Lee-Jackson Day, a state holiday.