Written by Darryl Woodson
Thursday, July 24 - Washington and Lee announced today that Lee Chapel and Museum will be closed this weekend during the rally and protest against the school’s decision to remove the replica Confederate flags from around Lee’s statue in the chapel.
“This unscheduled closing is based on concerns for the safety of the facility and its staff on the day that the Sons of Confederate Veterans have scheduled a rally in Lexington,” the statement on the Lee Chapel Web page reads. “We must take this unfortunate precaution because of the inflammatory and threatening letters, emails and phone calls the university has received in response to the removal of reproduction battle flags from the statue chamber in Lee Chapel and the decision to bring authentic battle flags to the Lee Chapel Museum. We apologize for this inconvenience.”
The chapel and museum will be closed starting at 3 p.m. on Friday, July 25, and remain closed on both Saturday, July 26, and Sunday, July 27.
The Stonewall Brigade of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is planning a rally at Hopkins Green Saturday afternoon, followed by a talk and open discussion at the Holiday Inn Express.
The organization posted the following response to the decision to close Lee Chapel on its Web site today under the headline, “Lee Chapel to be Closed- due to What????”
It reads, “Today, Washington and Lee announced that Lee Chapel would be closed on the weekend because they feel ‘threatened’ by the presence of those who will come to peacefully protest the removal of Confederate flags from Robert E. Lee's grave. All scheduled events are not even near W&L or Lee Chapel, so this is obviously a PR stunt contrived by W&L to make it appear as if we intend harm to Lee Chapel or its staff. The last people on earth that would cause any harm at Lee Chapel would be those of us trying to oppose the university's actual desecration of it.
“This is reminiscent of Mayor Elrod calling in the State Police Swat team to point rifles at participants in a similar gathering in 2011 in which there was not a single incident. It is also an intimidation tactic. However, just at the civil rights leaders had to be harassed by the powers that be, degraded, and attacked, I think we can survive this quite well.”