Authorities Prepare For Holiday Weekend

Local law enforcement is following the old adage in anticipation of this weekend’s events by hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.

Lexington Police Chief Sam Roman told The News-Gazette that law enforcement is again following a very elaborate plan of security for the upcoming Lee- Jackson Day events beginning

Friday, with a parade to follow Saturday, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Parade on Monday morning.

“We solicit help from Buena Vista police, the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police,” Roman said. “We plan all year for these events.

“We lean on the assistance of incident management as a proactive measure,” he continued. This will be Roman’s third time helping to oversee security of the community events. Though years past have gone on without incident, local law enforcement take detailed safety steps as precaution. “We like to have all resources in place,” Roman said.

The Virginia Flaggers group has posted on its Facebook page that its members will once again gather in Lexington beginning Friday to “flag” the town in protest of previous actions against the public display of Confederate flags taken by Lexington City Council and Washington and Lee University, as well as the renaming of buildings at W&L. This will be the eighth year the Flaggers have staged their protest on Lee- Jackson Day weekend.

The Stonewall Brigade Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will present its 21 st annual Lee-Jackson Day commemoration, starting with its ninth annual Lee-Jackson Symposium on Friday afternoon at Hampton Inn Col Alto. The free symposium features four speakers from 1 to 5 p.m.

Organizers are now closely watching the weather for Saturday morning’s events, as the forecast, as of Tuesday, was calling for mixed precipitation and perhaps ice. Normally over 300 reenactors participate in the memorial service at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery and the parade, but those numbers may drop significantly depending on the forecast.

The ceremony at the cemetery is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., with the Lee- Jackson parade taking place promptly after the ceremony at 11:15 a.m. A memorial service will follow at Hampton Inn Col Alto.

Another cold morning is now also in the forecast for the fourth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Parade Monday. The event, coordinated by the Community Anti- Racism Effort (CARE) of Rockbridge, will begin at 10 a.m. at the Randolph Street United Methodist Church. Hot cocoa and soup will be provided following the parade in the Dunlap Auditorium of the Lexington Presbyterian Church.

Last year, despite temperatures in the teens and biting wind, more than 750 people turned out for the MLK Community Parade. The current forecast calls for morning lows in the 20s with a slight wind.

For stories on Martin Luther King Jr. Day events planned by Washington and Lee University and First Baptist Church Sunday and Monday, see page B1.