VERBENA, AL - A dedication ceremony today for a huge Confederate battle flag flying over Interstate 65 north of Montgomery is drawing some protesters.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans describe the flag display as a
permanent fixture. The organization bought land on the side of the interstate near Verbena and put up the flag, which has been flying for several months above the tree lines from the top of a large pole, easily
visible from the heavily traveled interstate.
Leonard Wilson, commander of the Alabama division of Sons of Confederate Veterans, earlier announced plans to dedicate the flag Sunday afternoon, saying: "We are showing off our heritage. The flag is part of our heritage."
Calling for the flag's removal, Birmingham civil rights activist and radio talk show host Frank Matthews said he would also be there, joined by other protesters.
Matthews hoped to read aloud a letter that he has written to Gov. Bob Riley that claims the flag violates state highway regulations on signs and billboards. If the Confederate group is trying to convey a message to motorists on the interstate, Matthews contends, then it is controlled by sign regulations.