Opponents of flag misrepresent nature of the Confederacy...

January 27, 2000

Opponents of flag misrepresent nature of the Confederacy

I have closely followed the recent attacks on the Confederate flag flying over South Carolinas capitol, (In S.C., a clash over race, heritage, Jan. 16). The arguments for taking the flag down are based upon misunderstandings or misrepresentations of what the Confederacy originally stood for.

The Confederacy did not stand for slavery. The Confederate nation valued individual rights, liberty, state sovereignty, and self-determination. Most Americans still cherish these values.

The history of the period of the 1861-1865 affirms the courage, honor, sacrifice, and sense of duty of the Confederate soldier and the southern people.

It is unfortunate that certain extremist groups have misused the Confederate battle flag. These same groups also occasionally misused the American flag and the Christian cross.

But the misuse of the Confederate battle flag by a few does not change what it originally stood for.

It would be a mistake if South Carolina takes the flag down based upon misrepresentations about the Confederacy. And those who are so fervent in their demands to remove the flag are would in no way be satisfied if this were done.

Next would come demands to remove Confederate names from streets, schools and parks and probably an attempt to ban private citizens from flying Confederate flags.

My great-grandfather fought under the Confederate battle flag. I am proud of my Confederate ancestor, of the southern people and of everyone who honorably served in the Confederate army.

We should not give in to those who distort and besmirch Confederate symbols to achieve their own political goals.

Alan Sutherland


The writer is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Maryland division.

Confederate flag stands for honorable values

I was infuriated by Michael Oleskers comments about the Confederate flag and the Confederate cause (Maryland too has reminder of racism at State House, Jan 20).

Mr. Olesker wrote: . . . as if there was some kind of honor in defending slavery, implying that southerners only fought the Civil War to preserve slavery.

In fact, in 1860, the great majority of white southerners did not own slaves.

In addition, many Confederate officers freed their slaves years before the Emancipation Proclamation. Gen. Robert E. Lee even called slavery a moral and political evil.

If the average man was fighting to defend his home, and the leader of the Confederate army was fighting to protect his home state of Virginia, then how is that not an honorable cause?

Kevin Rodkey

Ellicott City

Since when is the Confederate flag a shameful anachronism (Hiding behind a flag, editorial, Jan. 21)?

Flying the Confederate flag is not a hateful or despicable gesture.

The idea of the flag being out of place, from a former time and not conforming to todays social standards is ludicrous.

The idea that Your heritage is my slavery is an excuse. Slavery is illegal in most of the world. None of the people in the groups protesting the Confederate flag is owned by another person.

I was born and raised in Virginia My family came to the United States in the 1840s. Weve never owned anyone.

Why should I have to give up part of my heritage just to appease someone else?

David Michael OBeirne


Flag can be a reminder of evils weve surmounted

I loathe the Confederate Flag as much as any other African-American, but I say, let the flag fly.

The Confederate flag is just as symbolic to African-Americans as to white Americans. It is a reminder of where we have come from, and how much we have accomplished since slavery.

It is a catalyst for African-Americans to continue to strive to achieve, so that we can enjoy the fruits of this great country.

The flag can instill in African-Americans the need to promote brotherly love among races, so the bigotry and hatred this flag represents will not again become the countrys accepted norm.

Let the flag fly. It will be a constant reminder that African-Americans have overcome segregation and slavery, and with the help of God, we will also overcome the enslavement of drugs.

L. J. Beal


D.W. Griffith: a racist who doesnt merit an award

I believe Sun film critic Ann Hornaday missed the boat in her discussion of the Directors Guild of America renaming its D.W. Griffith Award (Taking the easy way out, Jan. 16).

Contrary to Ms. Hornadays representation, Griffiths classic movie The Birth of a Nation did not just reflect the racial stereotypes of his era. Griffith helped shape those stereotypes into a larger interpretation of American history and the Reconstruction period.

Griffiths movie suggests the federal government unwisely attempted to force the South to change its social system and accept racial equality. Southerners who fought this through the Ku Klux Klan are the movies victorious heroes.

The movie unites a racist ideology with a political philosophy of states rights, creating a vision of politics and society that is still a powerful and corrosive force today.

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