Monday, November 24, 2014


The News-Sentinel editorial of Nov. 17th entitled “Confederate flag in parade an insult to blacks , veterans”  is a prime example of the continuing uninformed campaign to demonize the Confederacy and all of its symbols and emblems.  In doing so, the writer is also, perhaps or perhaps not without thinking, insulting the estimated 70 million-plus of us who are descended from those who fought for the South in that tragic conflict.

You do not speak for “blacks” or “veterans”. You speak for yourself.

These men were our ancestors.  Their pictures hang on our walls, their blood is in our veins.  President Dwight Eisenhower recognized the patriotism of the Confederate soldier when he ordered in May of 1958 that they be considered American veterans.  Their forefathers and their descendants have gallantly served our Nation in every war.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood that we could not share a future without fully understanding and accepting our shared past. When he dreamed of a future where “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners would dine together at the table of brotherhood”, he did not qualify that dream. He did not insist that we millions of Confederate descendants deny our ancestry or turn our back on the courage and sacrifice of our forebears.  He wanted quite the opposite of the kind of demagoguery that is now being practiced by those who would divide us with “political correctness.”

In America, slavery existed under the Dutch, Spanish, and French flags. It existed under the British flag for 157 years. It existed under the American flag for 85 years. One need only read Lincoln’s first Inaugural Address to see the folly in your revisionist editorial. He said he would do nothing about slavery.

Your editorial is an example of what serious historians call “presentism”. Presentism is the mistake of assuming that the ethics of another era can be judged by current ethical standards. It is not that way, nor has it ever been.

And to demean the St. Andrews Battle Flag, a Christian Cross, is to desecrate it in much the same way as those pitiful racists who also wave the American flag and run around in bed-sheets.

For what it is worth, I worked for years on a television show called “The Dukes of Hazzard”. Every week for years, 30 to 40 million Americans of all regions, races, and heritages watched the “General Lee” race around in a place where there was no racism. There was never a single complaint about that old flag on top of the car.  It still flies proudly all over the nation and all over the world as a positive symbol of the South.  Because symbols mean different things to different people at different times.  

Ben Jones
Chief of Heritage Operations
Sons of Confederate Veterans

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