WC BCC Considers Request To Remove Confederate Flag From Courthouse Lawn
Daniel Uhlfelder said a symbol of racism and bigotry needs to be removed. He said that symbol is the Confederate Flag flying next to the Confederate Memorial on the Walton County Courthouse lawn. He said Walton’s representatives sent to the state assembly to ask about succession were against it.
At the beginning of the commission meeting agenda item talking about the flag, Walton Commission Chairman Bill Imfeld asked to waive the normal time limit and allow 15 minutes for those asking for the removal and 15 minutes for those against the removal. He also asked for five minutes instead of the normal three for individuals.
Uhlfelder told the commissioners that if they have not made up their mind today, he does not know what else they can do. He cited various racial actions throughout history, talking about 1964 and the state of racism. Ulfelder also talked about current events. He told the commissioners the flag is not the actual flag of the Confederacy and has been adopted by the KKK as their symbol. He also said the battle flag was voted to be put on the Courthouse Lawn in 1964, just before Civil Rights legislation.
Ulfelder said the flag on the courthouse grounds prevents equal justice. He said the flag says that when people come to the Walton County Courthouse they are not going to get equal justice. He called it an attack on equality.
Wayne McLeod, Chaplin for the Sons of the Confederate Veterans said history is written by the winners and myths have been perpetuated for many years. He said the Southern States peacefully succeeded and developed a constitution that did not include slavery, rather allowed for state’s rights. He said this is the same as when the original thirteen colonies seceded from Britain. He noted how Robert E. Lee had already freed his slaves and wrote against it while Grant had slaves. McLeod said he loves Old Glory and if he thought the Confederate Flag was a racist symbol then he would drag it down himself.
Phillip White, who has a relative’s name on the monument, talked about showing respect for history and how Ocala has returned the flag to the courthouse. He said many citizens are now saying, “enough is enough.” He noted the flag was indeed raised in 1964 for a variety of issue, but told commissioners those issues are no longer valid. He said the final resting place of the men listed on the monument are buried in other places. He told commissioners they have the opportunity to show that in Walton there is still respect for history, good and bad.
Danny Glidewell said it is important to remember history, saying history is complex. He said slavery is evil and good men can sometimes be in favor of something that is evil. He said the next thing will be the memorial, then the ten commandments and the christmas display. Glidewell said taking the flag down will further divide the county.
Commissioner Comander said they had been given information from both sides and need time to go through the items. She also noted the item was not on the agenda for a vote. The commissioners moved the issue to the next meeting as an agenda item.