Confederate 'mega flag' turning heads along I-95 near Fayetteville
Posted April 28
Fayetteville, N.C. — As part of its "Flags Across the Carolinas" project, the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has unveiled a massive confederate flag along Interstate 95 in Cumberland County.
The 20-by-30-foot flag, which is on a pole about 90 feet in the air, sits just off the southbound lanes of the highway between mile marker 63 and 64 near Godwin.
Drivers passing the location have honked their horns and stopped to take pictures since it went up on Wednesday.
Josh Hagge was one of the drivers who stopped. He says he's happy to see it.
"It shows people that this is the South. It's a symbol for the South. It's not hatred," Hagge said. "People think it is, but it's not, really."
Ronnie McBryde, an African-American man who lives nearby the site where the flag is placed, said he sees the flag as a racist symbol but that it doesn't bother him.
"Freedom of speech," he said. "As long as they don't put it in my yard, I don't have a problem with it."
Don Ward said the flag is a sign that "people haven't learned anything yet."
"I just can't understand it no more. They're still trying to make a statement. About what? That's what I want to know," Ward said. "They're trying to make a statement about how it used to be. They're trying to push people back to how it used to be. I take offense to it, but I don't say anything."
David Brewer, of Wade, said he doesn't have a problem with the flag if the intention is to honor the past.
"Some of my ancestors in the past fought in the Civil War. They were soldiers. That's part of my history," he said. "It's nothing racial, that's the way it was, North against the South. Northern way against the Southern way. If that's what (the flag) is in memory of, and in honor of, I don't have a problem with it, because that's part of our history. If it's for racial reasons, then I do have a problem with it."
James Buxton, president of the Fayetteville chapter of the NAACP, released a statement Friday in response to the flag, saying "it is not worth being upset about."
"It has been 152 years since the Civil War ended and people are still trying to relive a dreadful era. I doubt very seriously that the flags on I95 were placed there because of history. Because of tensions in our country and the world today surrounding this flag, it is a known fact that it is being used to rekindle contempt and to display it as a symbol of prejudice and racial hatred, much like it was used in the 20th Century by white supremacists," Buxton's statement said. "Therefore, I encourage everyone who might be offended by the flags along I95 to ignore them. It is just a piece of cloth that doesn’t mean anything to us. It is a display of the ignorance of individuals who refuse to accept that all men are equal as stated in the constitutions of our state and country. Above all, they do not understand that we were created with equality by God."
In a news release about the flag, the Sons of Confederate Veterans says it will maintain the flag and the property it sits on.
The group says it is also considering other sites across the state for more flags.