From: _wildbill4dixie@yahoo.com_ (mailto:wildbill4dixie@yahoo.com)
To: _rthames@charlotteobserver.com_ (mailto:rthames@charlotteobserver.com

After reading your editorial about the City Manager’s decision to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from a cemetery which contains confederate dead, I felt compelled to write you and let you know that there are some people left in this world who still value reason and who will not succumb to whiny hand-wringing editorials which fly in the face of reason. The fact is, your entire article is littered with gaping holes of illogic which are big enough to drive a truck through.

First, no where in any of your coverage of this incident do I see any numbers. The unthinking reader simply assumes that there is a groundswell of support, presumably among African Americans in the Charlotte area, for removing a Confederate Battle Flag from a cemetery which houses men who fought and died for it. Since you seem to have omitted this important piece of information, I’m going to ask you, how many African Americans voiced objection to its presence there? For that matter, how many white residents voiced objection to its presence there?? I don’t see those numbers either? If you did take a survey, could you, in the interests of truth in journalism, please publish the results of that survey? Of course, we both know that you don’t have such information and are simply hoping that your readers will lap up your drivel without ever thinking of this, don’t we? By the way, if you have enough backbone to respond, I’m right here waiting for you with baited breath!

You do acknowledge that the there are at least two ways of viewing the confederate battle flag. However, if two groups of people see the same thing in different ways, why must group A give up their rights for Group B? In other words, to spell it out for you, why are the rights and feelings of those who don’t like the battle flag, trumping the rights of those who do? It’s a fair question I think, one which I am eagerly waiting for you to answer!

And how exactly is removing the flag and trampling on the rights of one group, supposed to promote togetherness and end "divisiveness" Maybe I missed something when I took Psychology 101 but your statement seems to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding when it comes to human behavior? Again, please enlighten me. I await your searing logic!?

As usual, you take great pains to play up the "painful reminder" of an institution long dead, which no one alive today has ever seen. I suppose I must indulge in the now obligatory "slavery is evil" mantra which everyone these days seems to be so intent on chanting?? Well, I refuse to do that. Slavery was simply a part of life at that time and it is an institution that has been practiced by nearly every society since the beginning of time. Further, to judge peoples past by the standards of our time is to play the part of a fool, a role which the city manager and you, seem quite suited to. You neither learn anything about history or yourself when you adopt that role.

If a confederate flag were such a painful reminder of it to African Americans, then the mere mention of the word "Africa" would also evoke painful reminders, since without the complicity of African chiefs and kings who themselves practiced slavery (and sold fellow Africans to white slave traders), 14 million souls would never have been transported to the western hemisphere over a 400 year period. The logic of your argument simply will not fly, at least not among people who are unafraid to think critically.

And, if the Confederate Battle Flag has always been a painful reminder to black Americans, then it does not follow that most have always chosen to make their homes in the South, where the flying of the flag has been in vogue since the end of Reconstruction.

Once again, you appeal to distorted emotions and not reason.

Finally, unlike most issues regarding the Confederate Battle Flag, this one goes beyond the bounds of behavior which most civilized people view as honorable. In this case, a flag was not simply removed from a state flag, or a courthouse, or a statehouse, or a school. It was removed from a cemetery full of men who fought under it. Those men, need I remind you were Americans, more specifically, American Veterans! Yet, the City Manager sees fit to remove their flag because an unknown person or persons have raised a stink.

To you and the City Manager, I offer the words of Teddy Roosevelt, who said it better than I ever could:

"People who will not fight for the graves of their dead are past redemption"

Bill Vallante
Commack NY
SCV Camp 1506 (associate)
9th Va. Co. C. (reenactor)