SCV Gets Permission to Display Symbol of Racial Hatred at Gettysburg

The Sons of Confederate Veterans received permission to hold their day of celebration for racist symbology at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial on Oak Hill at the Gettysburg National Military Park. See stories here and here. “Confederate flag day” will be on March 5. Park spokesperson Katie Lawhon made the announcement. “As custodians of land owned by the American people, the National Park Service has a responsibility to make that land available for exercising those rights.” She also said “the Code of Federal Regulations, the Director’s Orders on Special Park Use and the management policies of the National Park Service all provide clear guidance on First Amendment activities in the parks.”

There will be displays of the racist symbol and a speech giving a highly cherry-picked “history” of the flag and some phony claims about its significance. Gary Casteel, the sculptor to blame for the Longstreet-on-a-carousel horse monument, is organizing the event. “Between 15-20 people are expected, but Casteel said he’s not sure how many will attend.”

While local NAACP officials disagree with the message of the confederate flag, they support the group’s First Amendment right to free expression and have tried to discourage protests of the event.



  1. Anne Peasley · · Reply


    1. Hi, Anne, thanks for the comment.

      While I disagree with what the confederate flag stands for, I also support the First Amendment right of every American citizen to express their opinions, and I think the NPS acted appropriately here in granting the permit. I think the NAACP leaders trying to discourage protests are very wise in not giving the group more attention than they are already getting. It’s disappointing that there are folks who feel the need to display that symbol knowing that it’s offensive. It’s also disappointing people who pretend to honor R. E. Lee act in direct opposition to what he wanted to happen.

  2. “Between 15-20 people are expected, but Casteel said he’s not sure how many will attend.”

    That really doesn’t seem like a lot, especially when you consider that the local SCV alone has more than twice that many members, according to Casteel. I wonder if he’s intentionally underestimating so that if there’s 25 he can claim that they exceeded their wildest estimates.

    1. That’s a definite possibility, Andy. As we’re a little more than two weeks away, there’s plenty of time for them to build up numbers.

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