A test of an ability to assemble as a crowd amid mask, social distancing, and other safety considerations during a pandemic will be on display Tuesday evening at the Floyd County High School auditorium when the Board of Supervisors hosts its second regular scheduled meeting of July.

A public hearing on a proposed ordinance on the construction of tall structures on protected mountain ridges. That, however, is not expected to bring the big crowd. An issue involving an attempt to place a referendum on the general election ballot to keep or not keep a generic statue of a confederate soldier on the courthouse lawn is expected to draw reactions during the board’s public comment section.

On the board’s agenda is this statement:

All persons desiring to be heard shall be accorded an opportunity to present written comments or oral testimony within such reasonable time limits as determined by the Board of Supervisors. Due to the public health threat posed by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, current guidance by the Governor of Virginia and the Virginia Department of Health on social distancing and public gatherings, proper social distancing and protective measures will be observed at all times. Citizens who desire to provide public comment in person are asked to sit in designated spots as directed by staff until the citizen is invited to address the Board. The meeting will be streamed live via Internet.

Any Floyd citizen can also provide written comments prior to the meeting and those comments will be provided to the Board of Supervisors, and entered into the official minutes of the meeting and summarized by the Chair or designee at the meeting for the benefit of the public.

Masks are required inside Floyd County High School. Sheriff Department deputies will be on hand in case anyone has a problem of self-control although the mask rules imposed by the governor are enforced by the Virginia Department of Health and not law enforcement officials.

This is the agenda:

The high school auditorium has become the place for the supervisors to hold public meetings they expect to draw crowds. The last such one was the overflow audience that debated a proposed resolution urging the county to enforce the Constitutional Second Amendment over any proposed Virginia General Assembly legislation that some felt might infringe on its “right to bear arms.”

That hearing took several hours to debate a resolution with no legal bearing under Virginia law, which is governed by a Constitution that is older than the once passed for the young nation called the United States. A lot of hyperbole, nothing more.

That gathering broke the previous record held in Floyd County over a proposed leash ordinance for dogs.

In an editorial printed earlier this month, The Roanoke Times asked some pertinent questions about Floyd County’s confederate statue on the courthouse lawn:

If you look at that showdown through the long lens of history, you shouldn’t be surprised. The Confederacy was something that prompted a lot of debate in Floyd County in the ’60s — that’s the 1860s.

Here’s something that all those waving the Confederate flag in Floyd have forgotten: During the Civil War, Floyd County was a hotbed of Unionism. Perhaps the real question is not why there’s a Confederate statue in front of the Floyd County Courthouse, but why there isn’t a statue to those in Floyd who remained defiantly loyal to the United States.

Our collective memory tends to simplify the past, but it was just as complicated as the present. The Appalachian South was never as enthusiastic about the Confederacy as those in the lowlands. Even when Virginia finally voted to secede, not all the “no” votes came from the future West Virginia —some came from as far east as the delegates representing Franklin and Henry counties. Some parts of the mountains remained “Union holes” throughout the war. One of those was Floyd County. 

It’s unclear just how many people in Floyd County supported which side of the cause but this much is clear: There was a considerable amount of Union sentiment in Floyd, and the Unionists and Confederates there “clashed violently throughout much of the war.”

This is not the Civil War story most of us grew up with. Floyd can debate whether it should stay or not. We know why Floyd County has a Confederate monument. Floyd can debate whether it should stay or not. But why doesn’t Floyd have a monument to its citizens who, at risk to their own lives, remained loyal to the United States?

–The Roanoke Times

Good question. We wonder if it will be addressed Tuesday night during the discussions before the Floyd County Board of Trustees.

And please remember: No weapons — legally concealed or otherwise — are allowed on school property.