Some calling for removal of Confederate flag at Ridgefield park - KPTV - FOX 12

Some calling for removal of Confederate flag at Ridgefield park

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Jefferson Davis Park in Ridgefield (KPTV) Jefferson Davis Park in Ridgefield (KPTV)
RIDGEFIELD, WA (KPTV) -

In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, many are calling for the removal of other symbols of the Confederacy, including at a park in Ridgefield.

The Jefferson Davis Park is right off of I-5. The park is a small, privately owned plot of land with a sign bearing the name and photo of Jefferson Davis and a Confederate flag flying overhead. 

John and Rose Fleetwood have lived in Ridgefield for 50 years. When private owners set up the park across from their home 10 years ago, more than anything, they just thought it was odd.
 
“It does seem a little strange,” said Rose Fleetwood. “What happened in the Civil War happened in the South, not here in Washington.”
 
But the Fleetwoods say the park does not offend them.
 
“It may not be the most glorious days of our national history, but it’s part of the history,” said John Fleetwood.
 
Another neighbor of the park, who only wants to be known as “Mark”, feels much differently. He’s lived in the area for one year and thinks the park is a symbol of racism.
 
“I believe it should be tore down,” Mark said about the flag. “Because it’s showing racism."
 
The park is owned by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederate States in the 1860s and according to the group’s website, a highway in his name was supposed to stretch from Virginia out west to Washington.

Spokesman Garth McKinney invites neighbors to come to one of their rallies.
 
In a written statement he said, “We understand that they may not appreciate the symbolism for what it means to us, but would ask them to open their minds to both sides of history.”
 
McKinney said they’ve received praise and threats about the park but he wants to be clear – they condemn what happened in Charlottesville.
 
“The Neo-Nazi groups that descended on Virginia are one of the clearest examples of someone not only misusing our beloved American flag, but also misusing the Confederacy’s symbolism. The very Generals they took the time to rally around would not have taken part in their events as any friend of theirs. Nor would they seek to divide our people," McKinney said. 
 
As long as the neighborhood is peaceful, John Fleetwood is not worried about the park or the Confederate flag in it.
 
“I don’t want anybody rioting out here in front of my house,” said Fleetwood. “I don’t see any real reason to get all excited about it.”
 
But Mark feels the flag and the park need to go.
 
“Take it to Mississippi. That’s where it really belongs," he said. 

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