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Lexington’s weekend full of historic events adapted to COVID

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 5:35 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - Friday brought flags to Main Street, an annual protest by the city’s refusal to allow them on the light posts.

But it was just the start of a weekend of events tied to history.

“We usually have a nice symposium and have a crowd usually, 75 or 80 people on Fridays, but this year we have to livestream it,” said Brandon Dorsey of the Stonewall Brigade of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

That was just one of the changes COVID has brought to the events, although Saturday’s traditional parade in celebration of Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson will be much the same.

“Well, it’ll probably look a little different,” Dorsey said. “I’m sure with people in masks, that’ll kind of mess up the historic appeal with a lot of folks, but the basic layout and feel should be the same.”

For the past five years, the Lee Jackson events have been matched by a march celebrating Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the Monday holiday marking his birthday, but that too has faced a change thanks to COVID.

“We’re not calling it a parade this year because we’re not marching, said CARE Rockbridge President Rev. Reginald Early. “We’re calling it an MLK Community Celebration.”

Instead of crowds filling the street, they are encouraging people to stand on Main Street at a safe distance.

“Showing symbolism for how the city of Lexington really is in terms of its diversity, because that is something we’ve always wanted to emphasize, that Lexington is not just a city of Confederate flags,” Early said.

“We’re just trying to stick to our goal, which is to honor our ancestors,” said Dorsey. “We’re all descendants of the Confederate soldiers, and we’re going to honor our family regardless of other people’s opinions of them.”

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