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Confederate Flag Flap Flies Higher

Group plans security and expansions to flag project.

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The group planning to install a 15-foot Confederate flag just off Interstate 95 says it's unmoved by opponents who are begging them to reconsider.

"The only thing that might change is maybe we'll get a bigger flag," says Grayson Jennings of the Virginia Flaggers.

The group says it wants to celebrate the region's Confederate heritage by flying the flag from a 50-foot pole on private land just south of the city in Chesterfield County. Organizers have declined to say exactly where.

Jennings says the group raised more than the $3,000 required for the project. It now plans to light the flag at night and install security cameras and a fence to deter would-be vandals, he says.

Local opposition has been swift and vocal. King Salim Khalfani, state director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has said it will make visitors to Richmond, especially of African descent, wonder, "Damn, what kind of yokel joint is this?" As of Monday, 9,000 people had signed an online petition titled "Say No to the I-95 Confederate Flag."

The Chesterfield Democratic Committee sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors asking it to pass a symbolic resolution opposing the flag. The committee calls the planned flag disturbing and "gravely concerning."

"We don't believe that employers will want to bring their jobs to a county whose vistas and horizon are invaded by the Confederate flag," the letter says. "These employers will rightly fear that the message it sends to prospective employees is not a positive one. Jobs and businesses will go elsewhere."

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