Thursday, January 30, 2014

VA Flaggers adn SCV Responds to I-95 Flag Nay-Sayers

Blowback on the Confederate flag issue

In response to the letter in your paper dated Jan. 8, 2014, “I-95 Confederate Flag: legal but not wise” by Delwyn D. Logan of Petersburg, it is a shame that those like Mr. Logan choose to base their opinions on what others tell them rather than studying a little history before publishing an opinion on a subject of which he has so little knowledge.

Fact: “The War of Northern Aggression” was not started because of slavery and socalled oppression. It was started because of states’ rights issues, large government and high taxes on the South. Check it out. The flags are not and were not symbols of oppression.
You are right, Mr. Logan, about it being time to get the facts straight. I question where you got the 13 percent figure of county residents who view the flag as a symbol of oppression. I believe that is a matter of opinion – yours.

It is true that the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia was used throughout the state — because most of the war was fought in Virginia — and was the Confederate soldier’s flag. There were more than 12 different Confederate flags, only two of which have white fields: they were the second national and the third national.
After doing a little research you will find the war ended in April of 1865 and “most” of these hate groups you refer to were formed long after that. How dare you compare our Confederate flag, under which our forefathers fought, to the evils of the German swastika, under which 8 million Jews were killed and an entire race was almost annihilated. We cannot control who uses any banner for their purpose. Our U.S. flag has been used by these groups also. They burn our U.S. flag, defecate on it, wipe their feet on it – which we condemn. By the way, the U.S. flag has far more blood on it than the Southern cross ever had. The Confederate flags only stir controversy among the uninformed. It is part of our history.

I am the past commander for the Chester Station Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and am dedicated to helping present the true history of the South to future generations. I am also dedicated to rebutting the ignorance and falsehoods perpetuated by those like you, Mr. Logan. So, study a little more history and stop looking for excuses and meanings that aren’t there.
I am proud of my Southern heritage and my ancestors who were hard-working, Godfearing, good and decent people and we will always honor and respect them and the flags they fought and died under.

Jerry L. Jennings
Past Commander Chester SCV

Regarding the letter from Delwyn D. Logan purporting “to set some facts straight and correct some of the erroneous statements perpetrated by the Virginia Flaggers” about the display of the Confederate flag on I-95, elicits this response: The flag displayed is not the Stars and Bars, but the Saint Andrew’s cross, and the acknowledged battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. The former flag is the first national flag consisting of three horizontal (two red and one white) stripes with a blue canton containing seven white stars.

Mr. Logan offers no explanation of his disagreement regarding the Virginia Flaggers position that the displayed flag is that of the Confederate soldiers. The eminent Museum of the Confederacy historian, John M. Coski, in “The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem,” makes the better argument that, by 1863, the flag was completely embraced by the armies in both theaters of the war, the Confederate Navy, and the Confederate government, which incorporated the St Andrew’s cross design in both subsequent national flags.

Mr. Logan is on firm ground with his third assertion, that the flag has been tarnished by its adoption by various groups promoting nefarious agendas. The flag has different meaning to different groups. One treads on shaky ground impugning the motives of the Virginia Flaggers. Some take them at their word about their motives. If so, they should be commended for reminding us that the battle flag also represents the courage and duty of those who defended it.

Dexter E Oliver
North Chesterfield

I take exception to Mr. Logan’s contention that the Confederate Battle Flag is a “banner of evil.” He also states that the flag “remains a symbol of oppression to 13 percent of our nation’s population.” The flag remains a symbol of honor, duty, and defiance to centralized statist oppression, to at least three times that number of our nation’s population — and has been used internationally as a symbol of rebellion against tyranny and subjugation by oppressive governments. In attempting to “set some facts straight,” Mr. Logan goes on to enumerate three statements, all of which are in error:
First, the Stars and Bars banner. The flag on display is the St. Andrew’s cross battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, not the Stars and Bars, which is the first national flag of the Confederate States of America.

Second, “Spokesmen … claim that the flag being flown is a monument to southern Civil War soldiers because ‘this was their flag.’ We know this to be untrue. …” Seven of my eight great-great-grandfathers were called to duty and fought under that flag while serving in Virginia regiments of the Confederate Army. They were called to arms to defend their families and homes, and their state and nation, against an armed invasion. If it is not their flag, then whose flag is it?

Third, “… The adoption of this symbol by hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan has tarnished the image of the Confederate battle ensign. …” Mr. Logan then goes on to make the obligatory straw-man argument, and historical cheap shot, that the 19th-century battle flag is somehow equivalent to the 20thcentury Nazi swastika. Apparently he is unaware of the Jewish Confederate Cemetery on Shockoe Hill in Richmond. I acknowledge that the misuse of the battle flag a century later by hate mongers has led some to see it as a tarnished banner, but how about Old Glory? If we are to be consistent in interpreting our symbols, should it not be “legal but not wise” to display the U.S. flag?
It is not my intent to disparage Mr. Logan personally. I simply want to correct inaccurate statements of fact, and to make the point that symbols, as well as histories, are complicated things. Flags have different meanings to different people at different times. The U.S. flag stands on its own, and I pledge allegiance to it. But I have also accepted the charge to defend my ancestors’ good names, and to guard their history, and in writing this letter to continue to do my small part to remove any perceived tarnish from their banner.

Richard Lee Baird, Jr.
Charter Member
Old Brunswick Camp No. 512
Sons of Confederate Veterans

Regarding the Jan. 8 letter “I-95 Confederate flag: legal but not wise,” I respectfully submit the following corrections and clarifications.The flag that was raised alongside I-95 near the Old Bermuda Hundred overpass is the 3rd Bunting Issue of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, not the Stars and Bars as stated. The Stars and Bars was the name for the first national flag of the Confederacy, created in 1861, but later discontinued. The battle flag was used throughout the war and it was the flag of the Confederate soldier. The Confederate battle flag used at this location is historically accurate to honor the Confederate soldiers engaged in this area during the Bermuda Hundred Campaign.

Further, the statements made before, during and since the raising of the Chester I-95 Memorial Flag by the Virginia Flaggers made our intent and purpose perfectly clear — to pay homage to those brave Confederate veterans, who fought and died to protect Virginia’s citizens and soil. Mr. Logan’s accusations that he “knows” this to be untrue, are, at best, misguided and false, and at worse, slanderous, as he has, to my knowledge never met or known any of those who make up our group to be able to make such incendiary assumptions.

We also take exception to his claims that the Confederate battle flag is forever “tarnished” by certain hate groups that have displayed her. A cursory glance at the history of these various groups show that they have also used (and with the same frequency) the U.S. flag, the Bible and the Christian cross, just to name a few items, in their demonstrations and activities. By Mr. Logan’s logic, should these symbols also be banned, shunned and forbidden from future use? As Christians, we refuse to allow them to “hijack” our faith. As Americans, we refuse to allow them to “own” the Stars and Stripes. And as the descendants of Confederate soldiers, we will not allow them to tarnish our banner. We suggest, instead, that these people should be dealt with accordingly, based on their deeds and actions, instead of assigning blame to certain symbols they use.

Finally, Mr. Logan tosses out the inflammatory “connection” of the Confederate Battle Flag to the Nazi swastika. This analogy can only be based on ignorance or a desire to incite. At no time in its existence did the Confederate Army take part in the murder of 6 million people because of their race. Any comparison is an insult to Holocaust victims, survivors, and their families. The grandsons of the same Confederate soldiers we honor, fought and defeated the Nazi army, many of them carrying the Confederate battle flags of their grandfathers with them overseas.

Perhaps instead of lecturing us about inaccurate facts and false motives, Mr. Logan should endeavor to further his education on the War Between the States, and search his own heart for the seed of hate that would lead one to write such a letter.

Susan Hathaway
Virginia Flaggers