HILDEBRAN, N.C. — As criticism mounts over UNC-Chapel Hill's multi-million dollar proposal to house the controversial Silent Sam statue, local Sons of Confederate Veterans camps are responding by raising another Confederate "mega flag."
The latest flag is located on private property adjacent to the I-40 Exit 119 ramp near Hildebran.
Members of Burke County's Sons of Confederate Veterans camp hoisted the flag Sunday, just one day before UNC-Chapel Hill students protested the school's controversial plan to construct a $5 million building to house Silent Sam, the Confederate monument knocked down by demonstrators back in August.
The camp told NBC Charlotte this particular flag is meant to honor local Confederate soldiers while rejecting the removal of Confederate monuments across the country, including Silent Sam.
In the past year, Sons of Confederate Veterans camps unfurled flags along Wilkinson Boulevard near Belmont, U.S. 321 in Catawba County, and a second I-40 flag in Burke County's western edges.
Bill Starnes, a camp commander in Gaston County, said their goal is to raise their visibility as monuments across the country come down.
"We don't want to put one up out in the woods somewhere where nobody will ever see it," Starnes said. "We do like to have them in locations where they'll be seen."
Many critics, who range from UNC-Chapel Hill students to Catawba County NAACP president Jerry McCombs, said the sight of the Confederate flags evokes racist ideals.
"I hope they will enjoy putting them up because we're enjoying taking those monuments down," McCombs said. "We're enjoying it."