The Battle Flag
Nothing in this country causes more controversy today than for someone to display the Confederate Battle Flag in public. Recently, I attended the re-enactment of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Montgomery, Alabama. Newspapers covering the event tried to twist the entire thing into something it wasn't. Why, you might ask? Because, controversy sells newspapers. I was recently listening to the Paul Finebaum talk radio show and he brought something to my attention I hadn't thought about before. With everyone getting the news free on the internet today, newspapers are going out of business. He made the statement that reporters must write stories that will attract attention if that means ignoring the truth.
I normally try and avoid discussing issues that involve controversy between two different races because no matter what you say, you end up being labeled a racist. I'm going out on a limb here and attempt a discussion without offending anyone. Hopefully, I won't end up regretting writing this blog.
I've never understood what the Confederate flag has to do with racism. The flag was used in battle to distinguish Confederate units from Federal units. It was never an official flag that represented the Confederate government, but represented military forces. It wasn't the only flag that flew over Confederate military forces.
The Trans-Mississippi Flag
Cleburne's Division Battle Flag
Polk's Corps Battle Flag
All three of the flags above flew over Confederate troops in battle, yet there is no controversy surrounding either of them. I drove around with a tag on my truck that was the Bonnie Blue Flag which was the first flag of the Confederacy. It remained on my truck for over ten years and no one complained about that flag. As a matter-of-fact, I was often asked why I had a Texas flag on my truck.
I've often heard that people hate the Confederate Battle Flag because the Ku Klux Klan often carried the flag. That argument doesn't make any sense. The Ku Klux Klan has carried the American Flag just as often as the Confederate Flag, yet no one complains about the American Flag.
KKK Marching in Washington in 1952
Today, the majority of Klan members are located in the northern states, particularly the state of Ohio. I love the Confederate Flag and racism has nothing to do with the reason I love that flag. I have numerous friends who are African American. One good friend named Larry told me he knew there wasn't a racist bone in my body. He understands that I just love history, but there is more to it than just history. Allow me to discuss this further and hopefully I won't come across as unpatriotic.
Today we honor American troops fighting in Iraq and we are called traitors if we don't support those troops. What are those troops doing in Iraq? It was proven that there were no weapons of mass destruction in that country. As I tell everyone who asks me what the American Civil War was fought over, all wars are fought for one reason and that reason is money. Our troops are in Iraq today for oil no matter how you try and justify them being there. We still honor the flag that sent them there, because they are dying everyday under that flag. The same can be said about the Confederate Flag. Good men died fighting under the Confederate Flag. Good men who owned no slaves and never fought to defend slavery. My Confederate ancestor in the 35th Alabama Infantry could barely afford shoes, much less another human. I'm not defending slavery here either, I think it is morally wrong and I would never attempt to own another human being.
Let me get back to the Davis Inauguration Re-enactment. Newspapers there interviewed local blacks about us re-enacting the event of 150 years ago. One NAACP leader stated that we were up there spreading ignorance. I'd never known until that day that every re-enactment which I consider a hobby is a means of spreading ignorance. I would like for that man to explain to me how a Civil War Re-enactment spreads ignorance. I talked to a black friend of mine before attending the re-enactment in Montgomery. I explained to him that the NAACP was discussing protesting us having the re-enactment and asked his opinion. He has strong feelings about slavery and what went on in the United States prior to the Civil War, but his reply was simple. He told me to go enjoy myself, that there was nothing wrong with a re-enactment.
Another woman was interviewed about the event and stated that she thought we were intentionally insulting black people by having the event during black history month. Of course, the reporter failed to mention that we didn't have the re-enactment just because it was black history month, but because we re-enact these events on the anniversary of the actual event. The inauguration of Davis occurred 150 years ago, long before February was designated black history month.
African American Lady who had a Confederate Ancestor
My wife took the above picture of an African American lady who marched in the parade. She has a black Confederate ancestor and she attended the event to honor the man as a soldier. When the reporter wrote his article, many who oppose the Confederate Flag commented that blacks were forced to fight for the Confederacy against their will. They said that not one black soldier fought willingly for the Confederacy. I suppose black Confederate veterans were forced to attend Confederate soldier reunions years after the war also.
Black Confederate Veterans at a reunion
I will go into more detail about the misunderstood flag and the facts in the next part. Again, I hope I'm not offending anyone, just making an attempt to get to the truth.