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Confederate ‘mega flag’ raised along I-40 to protest ‘Silent Sam’ removal

December 6, 2018 GMT

As criticism mounts over the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s multimillion-dollar proposal to house the controversial “Silent Sam” statue, local Sons of Confederate Veterans camps are responding by raising another Confederate “mega flag.” The latest flag is located on private property adjacent to Interstate 40 near Hildebran.

Members of Burke County’s Sons of Confederate Veterans camp hoisted the flag Sunday, just one day before UNC-Chapel Hill students protested the school’s controversial plan to construct a $5 million building to house Silent Sam, the Confederate monument knocked down by demonstrators back in August.

Bill Starnes, a camp commander in Gaston County, said the group’s goal is to raise their visibility as monuments across the country come down. “We don’t want to put one up out in the woods somewhere where nobody will ever see it,” Starnes said. “We do like to have them in locations where they’ll be seen.”

Many critics, who range from UNC-Chapel Hill students to Catawba County NAACP president Jerry McCombs, said the sight of the Confederate flags evokes racist ideals. “I hope they will enjoy putting them up because we’re enjoying taking those monuments down,” McCombs said. “We’re enjoying it.”