Ringgold resident Claude Lynch said that if the flag continues to fly the city will lose visitors and their business.
After all this time we still see evidence of prejudice in other forms of gender, social class and religion," he said. "Christians should set the example in the world of how one community can live. Among persons of different back-grounds there is a need to have a compromise on the flag."
He said the City of Ringgold does not need outsiders to tell the council and mayor what to do.
Flag supporters, mainly from the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and those opposed to the banner’s display outside the depot, also clashed over the issue at the Feb. 14 council meeting.
City resident Ruby Johnson told the council the presence of the flag is a community issue.
"We asked for the flag to be removed," she said. "If you want it put it inside (the Depot)."
Paul Croft, another Ringgold resident, said that he remembered the city choosing not to fly the Confederate flag at the new City Hall when it opened.
"I wonder what changed your mind," he said.
Mayor Joe Barger said this is a different situation.
"I've not changed my mind about anything," he said. "We did not put up a hate flag.”
Croft asked the council to be aware that the presence of the flag is upsetting members of the community.
"I think you ought to take in consideration all the people," Croft said. "Some may say it’s heritage. Some may say it's history. It’s not hate to everybody. It’s not heritage to everybody."
Councilwoman Martha Denton said that if someone puts up something that bothers her; "I'll just close my eyes.
"I am not prejudice," she said. "The flag honors people who died. We are certainly not degrading anybody.”
Croft countered that he should not be forced to ignore the banner.
"I believe it’s taxpayers money," he said. "I should not have to turn my head to anything in the city. I'm a tax-payer."
Councilman J.B. Petty asked Croft if a compromise might be available by flying the original Confederate Stars and Bars flag instead of the battle flag.
"We could live with that,” Croft said. “It would honor both sides.”
Councilman G. Larry Black said he would like to see the flag come down.
"I do not believe that flag was flying during the battle (of Ringgold Gap)," he said.
Black said his research indicated the only flags captured following the Battle of Ringgold Gap were the Stars and Bars and a blue flag with a white border.
The city council took no action concerning the flag at the Feb. 28 meeting