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SLRC Update CONFEDERATE FLAG BAN - VA HOSPITAL
THE SOUTHERN LEGAL RESOURCE CENTER
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2011
For Additional Information, Contact:
Kirk D. Lyons 828-712-2115
VISTORS TO PARALYZED VET WHO DISPLAYED COPNFEDERATE FLAG IN HOSPITAL ROOM
SAY VA SECURITY THREATENED THEM, SIEZED THEIR CAMERAS, DESTROYED PICTURES
MEMPHIS, TN -- Family and friends visiting paralyzed Korean War veteran Perry Thrasher in his room at the Veterans' Administration Hospital in Memphis say hospital police "harassed and threatened" them, temporarily
confiscated their cameras and removed pictures from them Wednesday.
The hospital police said they were acting in accordance with a "VA policy" which they would not name or explain, witnesses say.
Several people were in Thrasher's room taking pictures of black Confederate activist H. K. Edgerton visiting Thrasher and presenting him with a full-sized Confederate battle flag. Earlier this month, hospital administrators had demanded that Thrasher, the grandson of a Confederate soldier who died at the Battle of Petersburg, remove a miniature Confederate flag he had placed on the wall inside his own hospital room
and put it away it in a drawer because it "offended" unnamed staff and patients.
News of the hospital's action went viral on the Internet and has sent waves of outrage through the South and beyond. Well-wishers have sent Thrasher dozens of letters and cards of encouragement, many containing
tiny Confederate flags. The Sons of Confederate Veterans has made him a life member. And The Southern Legal Resource Center and Memphis Attorney T. Tarry Beasley II have sent a letter on behalf of Thrasher to Memphis VA Hospital Director Jay Robinson, demanding that the hospital cite any legal authority they rely on for banning Thrasher's flag from his private room, an action which the SLRC says is in gross violation of the hospital's own Patient Bill of Rights. The letter also demands an explanation of the "policy" under which the hospital police siezed the cameras and removed the pictures.
"It's disgraceful that a veteran who defended his country should be treated in this manner in a Veterans Administration Hospital where the protections of the Bill of Rights should theoretically apply," said Edgerton, himself a Vietnam era veteran.
"Mr. Thrasher displayed his flag to honor the memory of his Great Grandfather, Sgt. Gilbert Thrasher, Co I, 44th Alabama Infantry Regiment who died of wounds received in action at the Siege of Petersburg. We support Mr.Thrasher's stand to honor his ancestor's sacrifice." said Forrest Camp member Karl Amelang.
"This type of outrageous infringement should not happen to a veteran, in America, in a federal facility," said attorney Beasley.
"Ever since this story broke three weeks ago, there has been widespread support and sympathy for Mr.
Thrasher. The VA needs to do the right thing and let him display his flag," said Lyons, who is the SLRC's Chief Trial Counsel.
The Southern Legal Resource Center is a non-profit public law firm that advocates on behalf of persons whose civil rights have been infringed in conmnection with Southern heritage issues.
Southern Legal Resource Center
90 Church Street
Black Mountain, NC 28711