A heritage of patriotism, faith and principle

We have watched the battle unfolding over the Confederate flag in Warren County with great interest. As high school students living in the Land of Lincoln, we take great pride in the Southern heritage that is represented by that flag. The Somerville family complains of being offended by Confederate flags. Fair enough. But where is the line drawn? That’s really the question here. Does one student complaining about a shirt reach a level where the rest of the student body should be required to stifle their patriotism and pride?

We are high school students, and we see students wear shirts every day that offend us. What we have to ask ourselves is, "Don’t these students have a right to express themselves, just as we do?" Ja’Nae Somerville seems like a very articulate and bright young lady. We have no question as to why her parents are proud of her. But that same intelligence and maturity that would lead Ja’Nae to draw the conclusions she does in her recent letter should also motivate her to understand the importance of Southern heritage and history to her school and her classmates. We are proud of our ancestors who fought for the South, and we disagree that there is anything offensive about taking pride in the legacy of the fallen heroes of the South.

Southern heritage has for over a century been shrouded in darkness because people were afraid to discuss it. Today, many young people from all over the nation are beginning to take pride in their family’s history. Only good can come when young people take interest in the values of family, faith, and heritage. We strongly urge you to allow Confederate symbols in your school; not because of racist motives, not because of ideas from the dark ages, but in support of the heritage that Southern states should be proud of: a heritage of patriotism, faith, and principle.

JACOB SWAIN, RACHAEL WOLZ, MATTHEW HILL, MATTHEW JACKSON and TIERRA MOCABY

Marion, Ill.

Link: http://www.vancnews.com/articles/2004/04/28/warrenton/opinion/opinion04.txt