Local News

Confederate flags along I-95 come down without explanation

Posted September 15, 2020 5:58 p.m. EDT
Updated September 15, 2020 8:04 p.m. EDT

Confederate flags along two interstates in North Carolina have come down in recent weeks, including one in Cumberland County. One flag flew along Interstate 95 north of Fayetteville for more than three years.

Along Interstate 40 in Hildebran, two large Confederate flags have been replaced with American and Christian flags, a white field with a white cross inside a blue canton.

The Confederate flags first appeared in April 2017. They were put up by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Members said it was put up for 'the enjoyment of passersby' on I-95, but weeks have passed with just a bare pole.

The flagpole is located on private land.

At the time of its raising, the Sons of Confederate Veterans said in a news release that it was the first of the group's 'mega flags' that it was planting across the Carolinas. But, without any warning, the flag has come down.

In the nearby town of Wade, home of Mama B's Southern Kitchen, customer Gregg Dorsey wants to know why.

"I inquired on the website they got about why it was missing and wondering if it was just being replaced with another one. I haven't got any response yet of them," he said.

Sons of Confederate Veterans gave WRAL a short message regarding the issues with the flag, saying "Standard maintenance on the site ... nothing more."

"I'd love to see it flying again," said Dorsey. "I think we need it flying again, just from a heritage standpoint. Remind everybody where they came from -- it's not a symbol of hate."

"I've never heard anyone complain about it in here," said Bobbie Strickland, the restaurant owner of Mama B's Southern Kitchen.

Up the road in Godwin, African-American Mayor Willie Burnett, said he was offended by the flag when it appeared. He said he didn't think he could do anything about it because it was on private land.

I-95 will soon be widened, and the state will have to take some of the property.

Burnett said he believes the group removed the flag because it decreased the property value.

Whether the Confederate flag will be put up again remains unknown.

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