Tag Archives: Confederate battle flag controversy

Visiting Charleston (Part 3)

History

One thing is for sure, Charleston is full of history. The harbor is full of stories dating back long before the Civil War, even before the Revolution. Battery Point (White Point Garden) has beautiful, massive homes still in use that were built before this country was even a nation! Pictures don’t do this place justice.

Then, of course, there are places like Fort Sumter (where the Civil War began), Patriots Point (home of the USS Yorktown), the Charleston City Market, the H. L. Hunley Museum (the world’s first successful combat submarine), and even The Confederate Museum.

Confederate Controversy

Speaking of the Confederacy, my youngest and I took a few minutes and toured the small Confederate Museum in Market Hall. Originally a place where business was conducted, in 1899 this building was turned into a museum by those who actually fought for Charleston during the Civil War, thereby making the museum historic in its own right.

photo (57)Some of you reading this may have felt uneasy going into the Confederate Museum, and that is unfortunate. So much has been done since the shooting at Emanuel A.M.E Church to sponge away any remnant or reminder of Confederate history, yet what happened back in the 1860’s is part of the fabric of our nation. Much honor is to be found in the stories of the brave young men who fought for their homeland.

Back when there were no cell phones, television, or internet, the average young man’s world was a small one, limited to just a few miles in any direction from the very place he was born. All he would have known; all the people he would have known; everything pertinent to his universe would have been right there in his community, or, at most, his state. How could he be compelled to take up arms against his home?

The Flag Letter

Among the many stunning artifacts from when the Civil War enveloped Charleston was a signal flag – not your stereotypical Confederate battle flag –  a single, simple, signal flag used during the evacuation of Fort Sumter. Attached to this flag was a small letter from the original owner. I will paraphrase part of what it said:

“You may not consider this flag much more than a trinket, but it means much more than that to me. It represents the best years of a patriotic young boy’s life, from age 16 to 20.”

I stood there with my daughter and read aloud the full letter describing the history of the flag written by the one who raised it in victory, then lowered it in defeat. This young man didn’t sound like a slave owner, or a bigot, or a murderer. These were just the words of a patriotic young man who did what he was called to do when his home was threatened.

I’m not ashamed of the South. What I am ashamed of are those who, for political expediency or “white guilt,” want to erase the heritage of a strong, dignified, loyal people without even setting foot on our soil. I am ashamed of those who forget that it was the soldiers who fought each other that came together after the war to heal their wounds and erect monuments to each other’s bravery. I am ashamed of Americans who choose make all Southerners out to be something we are not.

Forgiven His-Story

The folks in the news media only want ratings; they don’t care about truth. Sure, there are bad people, bigoted people out there, but there are also good people – and a lot more of them than the other.

There in the City Market I talked with a black lady about all that had been going on after the shooting at the church. It was at her church that the last of the funerals were to be held that afternoon. It was from her that I bought a New Testament written in the Gullah language (the language of the low country). We talked for a long time about the contrasts between people who chose to forgive and those who chose to burn down their cities. We talked about race, about how the media only wants to further divide us, and how that God loves us all. We talked about Jesus, about loving each other, and then hugged as we parted.

Two strangers in a market…a market in a town that could have gone the way of Baltimore and Ferguson, but didn’t…because people chose to show forgiveness…because good people didn’t resort to painting everyone else with a broad brush.

Honestly, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that real Southerners are ones who’ve learned how to grow up, admit our mistakes, and move on. We don’t need the modern PC police trying to score political points by opening up old wounds. We can’t change what happened 150 years ago, but we can forgive…as Christ forgives us…and be better people than the history revisionist want us to be.

Now that South Carolina has voted in the house and senate to remove the Confederate flag and “move it to a museum,” I hope they don’t forget to go visit it once in a while. Those who once flew that flag in war were the very same ones who came back together to heal this nation.

I’m just glad my little girl got to see how history can become His-story before all the history is history.

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My Two Cents On the Southern Thing

There is much I’d like to say with respect to this whole Confederate battle flag controversy. Unfortunately, much of what I would like to say might come across as offensive; no matter what I say, somebody will be offended.

Therefore, I won’t write much, only enough to say I’ve added my two cents into the raging fountain. Who knows, maybe I might even get a wish granted.

First, I am a Southerner. If you are not from the South, then you probably have no idea what it’s like to live in a country you love and would give your life for, while at the same time feel sorta like you’re living in occupied territory. Being a Southern-bred, red-blooded American is sort of like having a split personality. And I’m proud of my personality.

Second, General Robert E. Lee is one of my heroes, and I will not apologize for that fact, despite the fact that our Confederate heritage is under attack from almost every direction. As a matter of fact, precisely because it seems everything Southern is being scrutinized by those jumping on the politically-correct bandwagon, I am more so on the defensive. I have a portrait of General Lee in my study, and that’s where it will stay.

Third, it disgusts me to see so many people not care about something one day, but then when it seems like not caring will cost political points or make one appear uncaring, they all of a sudden care to the extreme. If it wasn’t such a big deal last week, then it’s just pandering this week.

Fourth, I see all these politicians going to black (African-American) churches to decry racial discrimination, but fail to hear them recognize the irony of giving those speeches in racially segregated congregations! Am I the only one seeing this?!

Fifth, I hope the world can recognize the difference in the way a Southern, Christian community can respond to tragedy without burning itself down in the process. Love, and coming together to forgive the unlovable, is not the way of the Al Sharptons and the Jessie Jacksons, which proves they have no desire to emulate the crucified Christ who said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” They care nothing of the commandment to “love your enemies.”

Sixth, I’d bet my next paycheck a rainbow flag actually offends me more than a Confederate battle flag offends Hillary Clinton.

Lastly, this flag flap controversy, if nothing else, should prove to the true believer in Jesus Christ that we are all strangers and pilgrims in this world. The words of a children’s song I used to sing in Sunday School should pretty much sum it up: “Jesus is the Rock of my salvation; His banner over me is Love.”

Fly whatever flag you want, but the ensign over my heart is Jesus: may HE be high and lifted up (John 12:32).

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Filed under America, current events, General Observations, Struggles and Trials