ABUSE OF A CHERISHED SYMBOL – THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG

In a perfect world, there would be no need to explain the meaning of the Confederate Battle Flag. To even the most casual observer, the flag would stand for one thing and one thing only—the bravery and sacrifice of the men who carried it into battle. The bright field of red and the Christian cross of St. Andrew would tell the world that the flag also has deep religious meaning. The Confederate Battle Flag is the flag of the Confederate soldier. To the thousands of men who fought valiantly under it and to generations of Southerners it is a source of deep pride. To people around the world it symbolizes the quest for liberty, freedom and independence. It has been conspicuously seen at such diverse places as the Berlin Wall, Tiananmen Square, in the jungles of Africa and the former Soviet Union. Wherever an oppressed people seek to overthrow the shackles of tyranny, that flag is seen.

Unfortunately, the flag has passed into the public domain and cannot be legally protected as it should be from groups who would misuse it and misrepresent its true meaning. Hate groups have similarly abused Old Glory and even our Supreme Court would allow its burning and desecration under the protections of the First Amendment. The most famous Klan photo ever taken was the 1920’s march down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. Literally thousands of US flags were seen in the photo. No Confederate flags were present that day.

The argument that since Confederate symbols have sometimes been appropriated by hate groups for their own purposes does not ipso facto lead to the conclusion that Southern Americans should forfeit those symbols.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans in the strongest of terms denounce the misuse of our Battle Flag and our symbols. We recognize the public damage done to the flag by the miscreants in hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. We recognize that in a free country such as the United States, the Constitution does not guarantee the right to not be offended—not by the Confederate Battle Flag, not by the US flag, not by certain street names, school names or statues. Living in the United States means you very well might be offended. But this is a part of the freedom that this country enjoys. It exists nowhere else in the world.

Brag Bowling
National Press Officer
Sons of Confederate Veterans