Alabama Flaggers stand guard to protect confederate monuments
GADSDEN - AL —
The confederate controversy is more than issue over the battle flag. Governor Robert Bentley's order to remove it, along with other civil war-era flags, from the Alabama State Capitol was well-received by many. There are people who want to keep the flag flying and prevent monuments from being vandalized.
The group, Alabama Flaggers, says it is fighting to protect southern heritage.
Members of Alabama Flaggers noticed, before the shooting in Charleston, damage at the site of one of their monuments in Gadsden. The group discovered more damage after the shooting and heard about vandalism to monuments in other parts of the country. The Alabama Flaggers felt it was time to speak up and protect what's theirs.
"We don't want to fan the fire. You see what I'm saying? Leave our monuments as they are. We don't need to put more flags up there to draw attention," said Fred Mincey Burton.
Burton means it with love for her heritage. She's lived in Gadsden all her life and drives pass the Emma Samson monument on Broad street all the time.
"It's right here in my heart. So, I notice that monument," added Burton.
As director of Alabama Flaggers, Burton is prepared to do all she can to protect all confederate monuments.
"It was not like this. Someone must have actually pulled it even more," said Justin Burton.
He's also an Alabama Flagger and hoping he doesn't have to see another of Gadsden's monuments become a victim.
"I think the whole thing with this and everything going on is kind of a big politically incorrect hype," added Burton.
Members of the group see the hype as what happened after the church shooting in Charleston.
"I am starting to worry about people fighting other people. I am worried about a racist war," added Burton.
The concern is making the Alabama Flaggers stand guard.
"History is history. You can't sweep history under the rug. To me, history needs to be preserved where it was and it needs to stay there," added Burton.
The group plans to pay close attention to their monuments and call police when they notice a problem. No one in the group has received threats.
Also concerning confederate history, Georgia Congressman John Lewis is working to remove a statue of Alexander H. Stephens from the U.S. Capitol. Stephens was once Governor of Georgia and Vice President of the Confederacy.