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An Open Letter To the Editor of Southern Heritage News (A Response to the Joe Jackson Letter)

Confederate Flag Still a Sensitive Issue

In the Southern Heritage News, in a letter to the Editor, a Mr..
Joe Jackson begins his diatribe about circumventing tanks, floats,
floats and people assembling for the Veterans Day event in down
town Nashville on the Saturday morning of November 11, 2006. He
proclaimed that as he made his way, that he took notice of two men
dressed in Confederate uniforms, and carrying very large Confederate
Flags. As I read, I had so hoped that one of the men he had seen
was me; a loyal Black Confederate, just like his grandpa would have
been standing on this corner, if he was truly Southern.

Mr..Jackson went on to say that as these individuals proceeded along
the sidewalk, how they passed an African American man with a young
boy, who appeared to be his son, that his first thought was, "I
wonder what ideas might be stirred in the African American passersby
right now ? I so wished that Mr.. Jackson had stayed for the parade;
he might have witnessed me hugging that same mans son, and shaking
his hand as I strolled by dressed out in my Confederate Gray, carrying
my big Confederate Battle Flag, or the many other truly Southern
Black, White and Red folks that I would hug on this day. Had he
stayed for the parade, he might have caught a glimpse at the many
Black folks he were in a festive mood with my little brother as
he marched along with this Southern entourage, his very own African
drum decked out in the flags of his ancestors for the Southland
of America. I know just what those Southern Black folks were thinking;
now this is more like the truth.

Mr.. Jackson ended by saying that it is time we in the South increase
our Sensitivity. The irony is that as Terry Lee, myself and three
young White men headed back to where we were parked after the parade
, we would be stopped by a young man who sounds a lot like Mr..
Jackson. First he was pretty bold to stop his car and come right
among us and spit out his hatred dialogue, demand to know just what
did we think we were doing strutting with those evil flags in his
presence, and just how sensitive about it he was. Terry Lee the
calmest among us at this time asked him to settle down and we would
be glad to answer his question civilly. I having heard this newspaper
quote and ploy to used discourage and squelch student activities
to defend their limited 1st Amendment Rights to display or wear
Southern symbols, especially the Christian Cross of St. Andrews,
asked him, where are you from ? He promptly replied that he was
from Illinois . We all gave him a history lesson that he shall never
forget. As we began to part I put my arms around him, told him that
I loved him, and that none of these men meant him harm. I wonder
just what this young Black Yankee must have thought when those Southern
White men told him the same. I wave at the men both Black and White
who looked on from the window of Jim Reed Chevrolet , and thanked
them for the hospitality they had shown to us.

I would later on be presented with the State of Kentucky’s highest
honor, a Commission as Kentucky Colonel by my Compatriot and brother,
Bazz Childress, who drove all the way from Kentucky with his beautiful
wife to bestow this honor upon me. On this day I had spoke with
men of the Colored Troops who would march behind us , and was gratified
with their message of support of my stand in defense of my homeland,
the Southland of America. If I and the men who stood with me before
this young man did not learn anything , it was that one can not
assume that because a man looks like me, he is from the South.