Mason City, Iowa - A 1861 Confederate flag, referred to as the “Stars and Bars,” flying at Mason City Labor Temple drew the attention of some in north Iowa recently.
“My husband and I were looking out the window and I said Mark look at the flag that's flying on the Labor Temple flag pole and we go oh my gosh it's the first flag of the confederacy from 1861,” Beth Ann Schumacher said.
The flag caught the eye of Beth Ann Schumacher, from Clear Lake, who was eating at Hardee’s in Mason City next to Highway 122.
Schumacher, a former history teacher, says she looked up from her lunch and noticed an 1861 Confederate flag flying from the Mason City Labor Temple.
The flag, known as the “Stars and Bars” flag, was the Confederate’s first flag.
“It could be controversial considering how nervous our country tends to be right now with everything going on, it could be,” Schumacher said.
“It gets people to think so many times they don't really research the history of the nation, whether is the United States or Australia or whatever that may be, and those flags represent different periods through history of course,” Kevin Easley said.
Kevin Easley is the man behind the flag, his collection appearing on this pole.
He's made improvements installing a light and making sure the tattered flags are replaced.
“It's always the American flag first of course and that whatever you choose to fly like a NASCAR flag, which I’m not into that, usually mine always involve some historical context,” Easley said.
In response, Rick Moyle, executive director of the Hawkeye Area Labor Council, issued a strongly-worded statement Wednesday morning.
“The Hawkeye Area Labor Council AFL-CIO is a tenant at the Mason City Labor Temple and had no knowledge of a Confederate flag hanging at the Mason City Labor Temple. We strongly oppose any flag other than the American flag and the Iowa flag flying at any of the locations we may hold meetings,” the statement said.
“I never looked at it in that context it was just a flagpole the idea its next to a labor temple. Don’t the guys and gals who work here, aren't they Americans,” Easley said.
The flag was flying outside the Labor Temple early Wednesday morning but has since been removed.
Easley was happy to take it down, his intentions weren't to create a problem. His hobby comes from a love of history and this particular symbol, shows how far we've come
“It’s part of our heritage, who and what we are, prior to the war between the states in 1861 we were still one nation right?” Easley said.
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