Patriotic sentiments were on full display Tuesday morning as community members gathered to remove a Confederate flag in Valley Springs.
The flag was hoisted at the intersection of Highways 26 and 12, which has historically been the site of the traditional American Flag.
Valley Springs resident Don Urbanus noticed the change Monday afternoon, and decided he had to do something about it.
At the site Tuesday, Urbanus said he was “disgusted” when he saw the flag, adding, “We’ve always had the American flag up here … The citizens of the community have changed (the flag) when it needed to be changed. Somebody always comes by to check on it.”
Urbanus and others said it was unclear when the swap was made to dawn the Confederate flag, as well as who may have been responsible. The subject has drawn numerous emails and Facebook chatter since Urbanus pointed it out.
The Valley Springs Business Association bore flag responsibilities at the intersection for 20 years until that duty was passed to The American Legion, a national veterans services nonprofit organization, said Urbanus, a former member of the association.
On Tuesday morning, The American Legion replaced the Confederate flag, which is reportedly going to be burned under controlled circumstances.
Resident Michael McDaniel donated the replacement flag, featuring the traditional 13 stripes and 50 stars of the United States.
“We are all from different political views, but only one flag. Only one nation – one flag,” McDaniel said.
Some of the community members that gathered at the site expressed that they would dare not touch the confederate flag as it lay on the ground. Others said they were happy to see it removed.
“The community came together,” said Kimberly Noe, owner of the Artist Market near the intersection in Valley Springs. “It made me happy and smile. It touches me that the community came together to stand up for our nation.”
Several different flags were used by the Confederate States of America. The first national flag, often called the “stars and bars,” was used briefly until it was realized that its similarity to the American flag made it difficult to distinguish between Union and Confederate troops in battle. This led to the use of the battle flag, the design that is usually displayed today.
The second national flag, adopted in 1863, featured the battle flag in the canton, with a white field making up the majority of the flag.
Criticized for its similarity to a flag signifying surrender, it was redesigned shortly before the end of the war in 1865 with a vertical red stripe. This is the flag that was on display in Valley Springs.
Some see the various versions of the Confederate flag as symbols of slavery and white supremacy, while others see them as important symbols of Southern heritage and states’ rights.
The state flags of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Georgia incorporate elements of the Confederate flag. Until this year, the flag of Mississippi was the most similar to the Confederate flag, but the republican governor signed a law retiring that flag in June.
The modern display of Confederate flags, especially the battle flag, became popular in response to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.
Enterprise reporters Noah Berner and Holly Moser contributed to this report.