Not having delved much into the history of the flag (my “work” on the South consists basically of 3 short essays on the history of the KKK), I always found the proudly stubborn use of a symbol of flagrant defeat a bit puzzling. This article puts it a bit more in context for me, and (here we go!) speaks directly to the historical honesty that I seek.
I’m somewhat glad at least to learn that this particular emblem took its particular turn to true douchebaggery in the last 70 years. Before that it was just a “symbol of unrepentant treason.”
Last weekend a Confederate battle flag rose alongside Interstate-95 in Chester, Virginia. Chester is just south of Richmond, which is surrounded by Civil War landmarks including more than 30 preserved battlefields (e.g., New Market Heights and Chimborazo Hospital), the White House of the Confederacy, and the phalanx of Confederate heroes memorialized on Monument Avenue. Planted by the Virginia Flaggers, the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia provides travelers a passing glimpse of America’s reduction of the Civil War to theater.
It was optimistic if not disingenuous for Free North Carolina to suggest that “The flag will serve to welcome visitors and commuters to Richmond, and remind them of our honorable Confederate history and heritage.” The Virginia Flaggers repeated similar stale platitudes when it reduced the Chester flag to an homage to Confederate heritage, arguing that “Our battles are all defensive…in defense of the…
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