EXCLUSIVE: State Official Blames Confederate Flag Removal On Bad Cell Phone Service

Tue 16th, 2017 3:05 am EST

The North Carolina state official responsible for flying the Confederate flag over the State Capitol took the flag down on Heritage Day, and now blames bad cell phone service for the unprecedented move.

North Carolina celebrates Confederate Memorial Day every year on May 10. May 10th is recognized in North Carolina as a day of importance to fly the Confederate Flag, according to this resolution from 1961 :

“NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY 1961 SESSION RESOLUTION 51 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 1058 A JOINT RESOLUTION CONCERNING DISPLAY AND USE OF THE CONFEDERATE FLAG.

WHEREAS, there is a need for calling attention to the usage of the Confederate flag, to the end that it shall be displayed only in a dignified and reverent manner;
and WHEREAS, it is appropriate that the General Assembly of North Carolina adopt suggestions and make recommendations for our people concerning this and similar patriotic interests: Now, therefore, be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring: Section
1. The flag of the former Confederate States of America when displayed with the flag of the United States of America shall follow the recognized procedure of the display of any other flag with that of the United States of America. Sec.
2. It is recommended as appropriate that the Confederate flag be flown over the State Capitol and other State buildings on Confederate Memorial Day (May 10) and on other appropriate days, provided that the flag of the United States of America is always flown in connection therewith according to the regulations of the United States government.
Sec. 3. It is urged and recommended that use of the Confederate flag be confined to dignified purposes and events. Sec.
4. This Resolution shall become effective upon its adoption. In the General Assembly read three times and ratified, this the 13th day of June, 1961”

However, the Confederate Flag was not flown over the Capitol in Raleigh on May 10, 2017. According to the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, that was the first time the flag has not flown on Confederate Memorial Day since 1961.

Big League Politics contacted Dr. Kevin Cherry, the deputy secretary for archives, history and parks in the state’s Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Cherry is responsible for flying the flags over the Capitol. Asked why the flag was not flown on May 10, Cherry replied that there was no letter from the Sons of the Confederate Veterans to prompt or remind the Department to  fly the flag  and he was unreachable on that day in a remote location. Cherry said that he was on an island on May 10.

Here is an excerpt of the exchange between Big League Politics and Dr. Cherry:

BLP: Are you the person responsible for flying flags over the Capitol in Raleigh?

Cherry: Yes.

BLP: Why was the flag not flown that day?

Cherry: Because the Confederate Veterans had not asked me or prompted me to.

BLP: Is that the procedure according to the Resolution of 1961 to fly the Confederate flag?

Cherry: No, that was written at the Bicentennial.

BLP: Oh, so it was the law for just that year?

Cherry: No, but I didn’t have service for my phone for where I was. It was a remote location.

On May 10, 2017, a group representing Southern Heritage Pride was meeting with Representative John Faircloth, who was presented with photos by Ms. Valeria Hall Frazier, a descendent of a Black American Confederate Soldier.

Kari Donovan/BLP

Some Americans believe that the Confederate flag is an icon of slavery. Some see it as a symbol of States Rights. Some see it as respect for the American Veterans who fought under it. Most see it as a symbol of the American Civil War. There are many complex feelings and beliefs about the purpose of the Civil War. Further there remains a lack of education about the History of the Confederate Flag which shows up in early American History and pre-dates the Civil War. These factors, when combined cause us to face a division that frankly, we all should all want to move past for the good of the future of America. But we are not moving past. There were Northern Unionists, Northern Confederates, Southern Confederates and Southern Unionists. WHO was right? The debate goes on.

Due to recent events with Confederate Memorial Statues being torn down in New Orleans emotions are stirred up again, these topics are getting dragged out in the public square again. And in many cases, the answer seems to be to remove the symbols of other people’s free speech and free association.

The Confederate Flag really seems to be the final resting place for much of the emotional turmoil.

Whatever side of the understanding of “North vs the South”  or the “Stars and Bars” people find themselves on, everyone knows that the Confederate flag brings love and anger in equal passion. The debate about the Confederate Flag and what it represents may rage on for generations, or it might burn out with a new resolution to force the flag from State property.

However, the fact remains, there is currently a resolution in North Carolina, that the Confederate Flag is to be flown on May 10 and on May 10, 2017 it was not flown.

Here is the photo that Ms. Valeria Hall Frazier presented to Representative Faircloth, showing her Confederate grandfather:

Ms. Valeria Hall Frazier/courtesy of Kari Donovan