The Department of Veterans’ Affairs quietly moved to ban confederate flags from flying on free-standing flagpoles at its national cemeteries after a House vote earlier this year to restrict the confederate flag in national cemeteries.
The VA wrote in a letter to Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), the sponsor of the House amendment, that the VA will make sure that “Confederate flags will not be displayed from any permanently fixed flagpole in a national cemetery at any time.”
The VA conducted a year-long review of its policies regarding the flag’s display and came to the conclusion that they would change them in accordance with Huffman’s House amendment that passed in May.
Huffman declared victory over the VA’s decision.
“While racist individuals and groups continue to embrace the Confederate battle flag, it has never been more clear that this anachronistic symbol of hatred, slavery, and insurrection should not be promoted or gratuitously displayed on federal property,” Huffman said in response to the VA letter to The Washington Times.
The letter added that Confederate flags are still allowed to be displayed at cemeteries on Memorial Day and Confederate Memorial Day provided that they are from private groups.
The battle over the Confederate flag started last year when a man went on a racially-motivated killing spree at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people.
The shooter, Dylann Roof, posted photos of himself holding the Confederate flag, pushing South Carolina lawmakers to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds.
The National Park Service and other groups followed suit after the shooting in order to denounce the flag as a hate symbol.
The VA is now joining the National Park Service and the Army in banning the Confederate flag from its national cemeteries.
The Park Service and the Army also allow groups to place Confederate flags at individual grave sites on Memorial Day and Confederate Memorial Day, but require that the flags be removed after, The Washington Times reports.