U.S. House passes ban on confederate flags at MS military park - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

U.S. House passes ban on confederate flags at MS military park

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
VICKSBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The U.S. House votes to ban the display of Confederate flags at historic federal cemeteries. National military cemeteries in Mississippi and Georgia are impacted.

We went to the Vicksburg Military Park to find out how this will  affect it, and to get reaction from visitors.

"There have never been confederate flags flown in our national cemetery since 1866," said Vicksburg Military Park Ranger Ray Hamel.

The U.S. House's proposed ban on flying confederate flags at federal cemeteries really won't affect the park because mainly Union soldiers are buried there.

There are 17,000 Union graves at the park, 13,000 unknown. It is the country's largest national cemetery of Civil War dead.

"Now there are no confederates buried there. Confederates are buried downtown in soldiers rest, approximately 5,000 buried downtown, added Hamel. "That's a city cemetery that is outside the jurisdiction and legislation of the federal government and national park service."

Confederate soldiers are interred in the Cedar Hills Cemetery's Confederate cemetery. Many of those graves are adorned with the confederate flag.

The U.S. House bill that passed would prevent the National Park Service from allowing private groups to decorate graves with Confederate flags in states that commemorate Confederate Memorial Day. 

"We're here to purchase a battle flag. My husband is looking for one," said Aubrey Nolan of Vicksburg.

Ironically she went to the military park to buy one, but the visitor's center shop sold out this weekend.

"I don't agree with that because I mean it's a battle. It's a part of our history and at a military park I think they should be able to portray the flag," said Nolan.

Bruce McPherson of Odenten Maryland is a member of a national park travel club and has visited more than 350 national units.
Wednesday was his second time touring the Vicksburg Military Park.

"I do think this measure is a reaction to certain circumstances that are short term," said McPherson. "As I said, history goes a long way back, 150 years. It was a part of southern history." 

"The legislation is incongruous with a 1958 law that designates Confederate soldiers and sailors as American Veterans, said Marc Allen with the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "The US Park Service must be able to allow the time honored tradition of placement of flags and symbols on the graves of military personnel." 

The confederate flag ban would have to be passed by the U.S. Senate and signed by the President before it could take affect.

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