Hundreds gathered Saturday in freshly cleared woods along Interstate 95 to celebrate the raising of a Confederate battle flag, an event that stirred strong opposition from those who view the flag as a symbol of division.
Those who attended the raising of the 15-by-15-foot flag from the Army of Northern Virginia said the ceremony was not intended to offend, but to honor the South's war dead in the Civil War.
"The reason why we're here is to honor the soldier," said James Thompson, 50, a North Carolinian now living in Richmond. "We don't see it as a slavery issue."
Like many who attended, Thompson said his ancestors fought for the South. A Civil War re-enactor, he wore a slouch hat and a rough wool uniform and carried an Enfield rifle.
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