Don’t ‘Dis’ The Confederate Flag When On Vacation
Southerners love their heritage and along with that passion and pride cometh the Confederate Flag.
By Lynn K. Loyd
October 24, 2011
A recent news report focused on the Confederate Flag and the right of a South Carolina woman to raise it on a flagpole in her yard. Annie Chambers Caddell is the woman in question and her ancestors, she said, fought in the Civil War 150 years ago. Her decision to honor her ancestors by displaying the Confederate Flag has met with adversity – to say the least – from African American neighbors on either side of her property. The neighbors, disgusted by what they saw, placed eight-foot high wooden fences along their property lines in an effort to hide Caddell’s flag from their sight.
The flag remains on Caddell’s property, albeit obscured by fencing. Despite a petition presented to local council members at a local town meeting in South Carolina, Cadell, who insists she is not racist, cannot be told to remove the flag.
Having traveled across the country, I have witnessed many a vehicle and flagpost displaying the Confederate Flag. In my usual liberal Yankee fashion, I remember the day when I questioned a few folks as to why the heck they would want to display a symbol that to me, represents nothing more than ignorance. I found out – the hard way – that you don’t question "Southern pride." Yikes!
“Why do you guys have a flag on your truck?” I asked a seemingly friendly divorcee in Tennessee whose son’s pick up truck (aka “Cowboy Cadillac”) displayed a Confederate flag sticker in the window. “What’s up with that?” When I received no response to my initial line of questioning, I decided to stick my two cents in on this Confederate nonsense by saying something I totally regretted seconds later: “What are you just mad because you lost?”
Memo to self: never talk trash about the Confederate Flag without an entourage – or a good pair of running shoes.
The silence, as they say, was deadly. I was actually afraid. Gun-toting citizens are about as commonplace in the South as are coffee-guzzling, traffic jam cursing Yankees in the East. It was one of those moments (and they are rare) when I was speechless; nervously looking in all directions for an escape, desperately hoping to think up an excuse to get the hell out of there fast. But my fears were quickly appeased when the woman calmly told me that the flag was part of her heritage.
“It’s not about the war," she said. "It’s about our pride."
Turns out some famous Americans are members of reputable organizations like the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Check out this website and see for yourself (Make sure to lower the volume on your computer as the “pop-up Confederate guy” is kind of creepy and loud! You will need to click the button to “allow” the Southern gentleman to speak. When it comes to the South, folks are extremely polite. You gotta give ’em that.)
Among the members are Clint Eastwood and Nelson W. Winbush, an educator and academic. Winbush happens to be an African American whose grandfather served as a Confederate soldier. I don’t think the NAACP is too pleased about Winbush’s membership, but like the lady in Tennessee told me, it’s all about pride in one’s heritage.
As for Ms. Caddell and her protesting neighbors in South Carolina, both opposing parties have the right to express themselves. Freedom of expression is what makes our country great. On one end of the spectrum is Ms. Caddell who chooses to perceive her ancestor’s involvement in the Civil War as a noble action; those soldiers represented the right of citizens to challenge its government and many men fought and died over that idealogy. On the other end of the spectrum are the African American neighbors who, understandably, do not want to be reminded of the brutality and suffering borne of their ancestors.
There are never any winners or losers when it comes to fighting for what we believe in. The important lesson to be learned is not who triumphs but that we, as Americans, have the freedom and the right to lead a charge – or fight against one.
Nevertheless, thank God I am NOT a country girl.
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