Banner of History not Bigotry

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, now campaigning for president and following the recent massacre in South Carolina, posted to Facebook, “My position on how to address the Confederate flag is clear. In Florida, we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged.”

Once again there’s a call for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from Confederate memorial sites throughout the south. If this would really end racial strife then maybe it should be taken down, but that’s not the Progressive goal.

Instead, modern-day segregationists misuse this flag to remind our fellow Black Americans about the suffering that many of their past generations endured. Rather, this flag should be used to teach our nation’s complex history.

The red banner with a blue cross, containing 13 stars, outlined in white and extending from each corner, is a battle standard, under which both White and Black men fought and died, and not the ‘Confederate States of America’ flag. This shows a level of ignorance that’s pervasive across this nation.

In 2005, as a member of a civil war reenactment group, I hosted a luncheon for the group, including both Union and Confederate re-enactors. To honor both sides, I flew both the 1864 36-star U.S. flag and the Confederate flag, or ‘Rebel’ flag.

A few days later I received a letter from our home owners association requesting I not fly ‘the Confederate flag,” from my front porch. In defiance, I placed the ‘Confederates States of America’ flag outside my door, and because it has 13 white stars in circular pattern on a canton of blue and two red stripes separated by a white stripe, no one complained.

Yes, the South seceded to keep slavery and had it won, slavery would have spread across this nation. But there’s another reason the Southern man took up arms; he believed a foreign army had invaded his state, attacking his national sovereignty.

The Civil War left nine million Southerners men dead (about the population of New York City) and nearly as many injured. They also came home to find their way of life devastated and martial law in effect.

Under military occupation, the South had to rebuild more than its regional framework – it had to recreate itself. This led to Jim Crow, lynching and ‘separate-but-equal’ segregation, but it also led to untold numbers of Southern soldiers, sailors, Marines and Airmen, given in life and death, Black and White, to the preservation of our nation.

Removing the Confederate battle flag doesn’t change our nations passed — rather it helps increase our national ignorance.

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