Kennesaw leaders determined to remove Confederate flag permanently

The city of Kennesaw is determined to take down a confederate symbol that has been in a downtown park for years.   

At Memorial Park on Main Street, there are three flag poles. Right now the American flag and the state flag are flying high. The third pole, which until just recently held the Confederate flag, is now bare.  

"All the flags were cut down and stolen before one of the protests.  We decided to replace the US flag and the state flag, but not the confederate flag.  It wasn't representative of the city," said Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling.

Recent protests in Kennesaw and across the county of racial injustice have sparked a renewed effort to remove divisive symbols, like the Confederate flag.

During a meeting this week, Kennesaw City Council members unanimously said the flag has to go.

"We're not living in the 1800s and the flag does not represent what the Kennesaw community is trying to achieve today," said Councilmember David Blinkhorn.

"We need to find a way to get the battle flag off Memorial Park," said Councilmember James "Doc" Eaton.

"I stand with my fellow councilmembers, take the flag down," added Councilmember Tracey Viars.

In 2017 a petition circulated with thousands of signatures, calling for the removal of the flag in Kennesaw.  The city tried to take it down, but the state said it would be a violation of state law.

"We can't remove, conceal it or do anything with it, any such action would be a misdemeanor," said Easterling.

Mayor Easterling says the flag will go away.  He says it's time to take action and he says if it stirs up any legal of personal conflicts, he's willing to take the blame for it.  He says even if it means he'll be charged with a misdemeanor.

"I am. I don't know how far they'd go, how it will be challenged, but it's time," said Easterling.

The council will formally adopt a resolution to permanently remove the flag next week.  They are still trying to determine what will go in its place.  Mayor Easterling would like to see the city flag replace it, but that has yet to be decided.