Date published: 4/7/2005

It is because of the ignorance of history repeated by letter-writers such as Bernard Pruden ["To me, Confederate flag represents hatred and racism," April 4] that I am committed to flying the Confederate battle flag at my home, at my business, and on my cars.

By continuing to display this hallowed and historical banner, I honor all veterans of the Confederacy and provide a daily opportunity to discuss Confederate heritage issues with fellow citizens who see the battle flag flying.

I would enjoy showing Mr. Pruden examples of President Lincoln’s letters, in which he stated unequivocally that he fought the War Between the States to preserve the Union and that given the choice, he would have kept slavery in exchange for saving the Union.

I would also point to the constitution of the Confederacy, which signaled the phaseout of slavery by making it illegal to import new slaves into the Confederacy.

The Civil War, like all wars, was a terrible waste that was fought for numerous reasons, the least of which was the soon-to-be-obsolete farming practice of employing slave and indentured labor.

I urge my fellow citizens–especially those who erroneously perceive the battle flag as a symbol of racism–to introduce yourselves to people who are flying the Confederate battle flag and ask them to describe their feelings about it.

I think you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that those who fly the flag do so out of respect for Southern heritage, to treasure the rebel spirit of independence and freedom from government oppression, and to honor their Confederate ancestors.

Most African-Americans, liberals, and recent immigrants who make the effort to meet us would discover that those who display the Confederate battle flag are more respectful of the heritage of others, in part, because of the respect we have for our own traditions.

J. Tyler Ballance

Colonial Beach