Ruben Gallego introduces bill to ban Confederate flag at VA cementeries
WASHINGTON - Congressman Ruben Gallego (D - Arizona) helped co-introduce a bill Thursday to ban the Confederate Battle Flag at Department of Veterans Affairs cemeteries, which display the flag on Memorial Day and on Confederate Memorial Day, according to Gallego's office.
The flag appears on both dates in 131 VA facilities around the country.
The flag has been hotly debated both locally and nationally since the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church, in Charleston, S.C. that left nine African-American victims dead. Dylan Roof, the shooter, expressed sympathy toward segregation, white supremacy and posed with the Confederate flag in multiple photographs posted online.
Roof allegedly wrote in his manifesto that he had "no choice" but to act against blacks.
Since the June 17 massacre, many in South Carolina and around the country have called for the flag's removal on government grounds.
Gallego said the VA's policy to display the flag is, "a painful reminder of a terrible time in our history when we treated human beings as less than."
"The confederate flag is a symbol of hate and intolerance, and it will forever be associated with the injustices of slavery and Jim Crow," he said.
Gallego co-introduced the bill with Rep. Lacy Clay (D - Missouri).