Fly the flag at Oakwood Cemetery
I have been carefully reading the articles concerning the flag proposal at Oakwood Cemetery. To the editorial of April 13, “What’s in a flag” I would like to respond, “What’s in a cemetery?” To the column by Brandon Scott on April 11, “The logical link between slavery and the Confederacy,” I would like to respond, “Mr. Scott, your logic is tainted.”
What’s in a cemetery? In the case of Oakwood Cemetery, the remains of the founders of Texas, Walker County and the city of Huntsville. We place monuments and headstones to honor those who are buried there. I’m sure that some of these memorials are offensive to some people who visit, but those markers were not placed there to offend anyone. There was one member of the City Council who expressed that placing a Confederate Flag there would set a precedent but the precedent has already been set. We have veterans buried there from all of the wars in Texas history. We fly the U. S. Flag and the Texas Flag in their honor. If the Sons of the Republic of Texas petition the city to fly the flag of 1824 in honor of the veterans who fought in the Texas Revolution, they should be allowed to do so. Did Councilwoman Montgomery’s remark “There should be only one flag” suggest that we should remove the Texas flag?
Flags are either allowed in the cemetery or not allowed. If you allow U. S. flags and Texas flags to honor veterans, then you have to allow the Confederate flag. The men who fought under that flag are the same men who founded Walker County and the Huntsville. Among them were Leonard A. Abercrombie, James Thomas Hunter, Thomas Jewett Goree, James Gillaspie, John Magruder Wynne, Charles Patrick Estill and Anthony Martin Branch. Even the founder of The Huntsville Item, George Robinson, was a Confederate veteran. Does this mean that the history of the Huntsville Item is rooted in slavery? The cemetery committee voted 11 to 1 to allow the flag be placed there at the Confederate Memorial. It was placed on a consent agenda and should have been voted on the same way the other items were. Two of the council members suggested that this item be removed. While it is clear that the intentions of the Sons of Confederate Veterans are honorable, it is equally as clear that certain council members are determined to dishonor our veterans.
As to Mr. Scott’s logic. The horrible institution of slavery in this country was founded, protected and promoted the Constitution and laws of the United States of America. Pointing your finger southward is not going release you from fault. No war and no army ever could or ever did change the Constitution. When that bloody war was over, slavery still existed and was only ended by a constitutional amendment. When people argue that the war was about slavery, they never mention the Constitution or the Corwin Amendment, which was well on its way to being ratified before the first shots were fired. This amendment would have made slavery perpetual and irrevocable. If the South’s cause was to preserve slavery, they would have never seceded. Slave-holding states had total control of their destiny and on that issue there was nothing to fight about.
When this comes down to a vote, if it ever does, I hope that the Council Members will choose to do the right thing not the politically correct one and chooses to do something honorable not dishonorable.
Frank Martin Johnson