Sunday, May 24, 2015

Civil War Sunday - Can Remembering be Toxic?

The United States Civil War is not yet over.

My country, the United States, has just finished four years of remembering an event that took place from April, 1861 to April, 1865 - our very own Civil War, the war that shaped our country and made us the country we are today.

Tomorrow, in our country, it is Memorial Day.   Yesterday, I was looking at some blogs I read, and I saw this:

"Because Nothing Says Memorial Day like a Confederate Flag Burning"?

Yes, it's true.  There is a project called 13 Flag Funeral, which will take place tomorrow at 1pm Eastern Time, where, in 13 former Confederate States, a burning of the Confederate Flag will be held.

A artist by the name of John Sims hopes to start a conversation.  It is going to be a heck of a conversation.  Comments range from "it's overdue" to "it's extremely disrespectful, especially given it is going to take place on Memorial Day, the day our country remembers its war dead."
Taken by AM, March, 2015, in North Carolina
The Confederate flags (there were several) are still flown today, including on the grounds of the capital of South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union in the months leading up to the Civil War.  It even appears on official license plates of former Confederate states.  This Virginia license plate, for example, is available for purchase by members of an organization called the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  This organization, incidentally, is open to all male descendents of those who served honorably in the Confederate military.

The flag pictured on the license plate is a Confederate battle flag.  The cross is known as the "Southern Cross", related to the Cross of St. Andrew that the British use on their flag.

There is an expression "Elephant in the Room".  The Civil War has been an elephant in many American living rooms over the past 150 years.  Even today, things will seem calm, until an event like this is held.  Then feelings come out that we sometimes don't even know dwell deep inside us.  Strong, deep, hateful feelings.

Even the Wall Street Journal, a respected publication, had some interesting comments posted on an article they wrote about tomorrow's event, complete with...well, read it for yourself.

So:  is this event designed to inflame?  Or, to start a useful conversation to draw out toxic thoughts so they can be destroyed?  Will that help our country continue the healing that has taken place, not always in an even fashion, for the past 150 years?

Whatever side you are on, I think we can all agree that we should remember, tomorrow, the people who died for our freedom in all our wars so we can have this kind of national debate.


  1. We may not all agree with each other, but that's what makes this country so great. I can't think of any other country whose people will fight for this basic belief.

  2. Memorial Day should be a sacred day, as a member of the british Armed Forces, I have had the privige of serving alongside my US conterparts on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have all lost friends and colleagues who have died fighting for the freedom of speech for those that use it for their own personal reasons. Never Forget

  3. This reminds me of a Psych episode. Sean: "What's wrong with that Confederate flag?" Gus: "Everything."


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