Flag: Banner Of Evil?

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