Myron Penn, a prominent attorney in Union Springs, Ala., removed small Confederate flags that were placed at the grave sites of Confederate soldiers in a local cemetery, WSFA reports. As a result, he has drawn the ire of some locals.
Penn explained why he felt compelled to remove the flags.
“The reason why we picked them up is because the image of the flags in our community. A lot of people feel that they’re a symbol of divisiveness and oppression of many people in our community,” Penn told WSFA. “Especially with the history that that flag, and the connotation and negativism that it brings, I would think that no one in our community would have a problem with this or with my actions at all.”
Some people from the community said that Penn disrespected the legacy of the Confederate soldiers by removing the emblem of their struggle.
“It’s not about race or the flag or anything else. It’s about decency and respect for the dead. You don’t do stuff like that,” Rebecca Atkins, a Union Springs resident, said. “You got to give respect where it’s deserved, and those soldiers gave their lives just like any other soldier gives their lives. It’s nothing racial and it’s not about discrimination. You look at the person who served for our country, and that’s what matters.”
Still, others supported Penn’s decision, especially appreciating the fact that Penn was motivated by his son to take his actions.
“I just thought it was great when he did that. He said that he came up there with his little boy, and I thought it was absolutely great,” Tchernavia Blackmon, a Union Springs resident, said. “He did the right thing. I wish I had been out there to help him pick up the flags. He did a great job.”
The mayor of Union Springs, Saint T. Thomas Jr., said that an outside group, not relatives or a city group, had come into town and placed the Confederate flags in the cemetery. Thomas said the group should have sought permission from the City Council before doing so.
“They had no business putting them out in the first place,” the mayor said.
For removing the Confederate flags, Penn has been getting death threats and hate mail, including calls that he be disbarred.
Read more at WSFA.