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Alexandria City Council votes to ban flying of Confederate flag twice a year

A group of citizens will review Alexandria's flag policies and decide what — if any — changes should be made to its Confederate memorials and street names. (WTOP/Kristi King)

WASHINGTON — From now on, Confederate flags will be harder to spot in the city of Alexandria, Virginia.

In the past, the city has put up Confederate flags twice a year on city property to mark Robert E. Lee’s birthday and Confederate Memorial Day.

But on Tuesday night, City Council voted to ban the flying of Confederate flags on city property specifically on those two days.

The council also voted to appoint a group of citizens to review the city’s flag policies and decide what — if any — changes should be made to its Confederate memorials and street names.  The working group will then report back to council with recommendations.

City leaders have counted at least 33 streets in Alexandria named for members of the Confederacy, and just as many more that might have Confederate links.

The city can rename Jefferson Davis Highway if it chooses, but it would need approval from the Virginia General Assembly to move the Confederate statue located at the intersection of Prince and Washington streets.

“We’re not talking about trying to hide something, to destroy something, we’re talking about the best way to preserve it,” Alexandria Mayor Bill Eiulle said at the meeting.

But he also said he’s concerned about the feelings of city residents and others.

“We may have some things that could very well (be) deemed to be offensive.”

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