Re-enactors defend flag use

They said they use the Confederate battle flag only to be true to history.
For the Daily Record/Sunday News
Article Launched: 08/20/2007

Aug 20, 2007 — The Confederate flag represents different things to different

For the 200 re-enactors at this weekend’s Battle of Hanover, the Stars and Bars
is a threatened piece of history.

"It’s a battle flag and a battle flag only," said Union re-enactor
Larry Rita of Chambersburg on Saturday. "It didn’t represent any hate except
hate for the Yankees."

So, after Sunday’s re-enactment, a Confederate re-enactor carrying the Confederate
Flag led the Union troops, and a Union re-enactor carrying the American flag
led the Confederate troops.

"What we’re trying to present here is a unity type aspect of battle and
mutual respect for each other’s flags," said Bruce Yealy, narrator for
the battle re-enactment. "The Stars and Bars are a piece of Civil War history,
and we want to keep that as re-enactors."

Rita said the recent debate about today’s use of the Confederate flag is unnecessary.

"It’s history," Rita said. "They want to erase history. Well,
it happened."

He added that the 5-foot square Confederate battle flag is used only by re-enactors.

"It’s never been flown on a building," Rita said. "The flags
you see today are 5-by-7-foot flags. That’s the standard size."

Just such a flag has come under fire for being flown on the South Carolina capitol
building. A similar flag is also used by the Ku Klux Klan, which especially
irks re-enactors such as Joe Posinski of Glen Rock, who portrays Confederate
Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart.
"The American people in the South didn’t have that flag for slavery,"
Posinski said. "People in the different states in the Confederacy like
Virginia thought you were a Virginian first, an American second. That’s why
they fought."

Posinski added that Stuart himself freed his slaves when the Civil War started,
and in his time as a re-enactor, Posinski has never encountered someone who
was angry that he flew the Confederate flag.

Posinski recalled a specific incident in Windham, N.Y., in which a woman came
up to him all smiles with a tintype photograph of her great-great-great-grandfather,
a black man, in a Confederate uniform.

"He was in the New Orleans guard," Posinski said, "and she was
so happy to show me that picture."

The re-enactors at the Battle of Hanover this weekend said they do what they
do for one reason: to bring awareness of what happened during the Civil War
and why it was fought.

Copyright © York Daily Record

On The Web: