On Friday, the Confederate battle flag was finally taken down from the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse. I saw it flying in March of this year when I visited Columbia, the capital of South Carolina.
One media source described the ceremony as "bizarre". I wonder how my many foreign readers think about this.
Taking down the flag is something that I wasn't sure I would ever see this happen in my lifetime. But what it took was a tragic shooting - and the reaction, one of forgiveness, from the families of the slain, now called the "Charleston Nine", to spur this action.
But then I thought more about some of the other things I saw and experienced in Columbia in March.
And, to the best of my knowledge, a marble plaque with the Orders of Secession of South Carolina (the document published as they became the first state to leave the Union, in December of 1860) still occupy an honored place in the state capital building. (I highly recommend, by the way, taking the tour of the state house. It is fantastic.)
But, on the other hand (and there is another hand):
I visited an exhibit at the University of South Carolina called "Crafting Civil War Conversations". So ironic that the exhibit ended in May, right before the shootings.
The above maple bust of President Lincoln was part of this exhibit. I thought I had taken other pictures, but they seem to have disappeared from my photo cache.
The purpose of the exhibit was to start a conversation between the descendents of slaves and the descendents of slave owners. Sadly, that conversation never took place after the Civil War. What became known as "Reconstruction", the years after the war's end, took another turn all together.
Could it be possible that we may finally have a real conversation, and face our collective attitudes, about this war that ended 150 years ago this year but still colors our everyday life? I'm not sure. I think about this daily, but still can't find the words to write the words I want to write.
Instead, I will go back to a moment in time where I found myself writing a post about hate - early 2012.
Ironically, when I changed where I was going to vacation after this incident, we visited - Charleston, South Carolina.
Civil War Sunday-Hate in Virginia Cancels My Trip
I am in the closing stages of planning a vacation in March to visit some Civil War sites. I had wanted to visit the Newport News area to see the Mariner's Museum but it is closed part of the week, and I just couldn't make it fit.
So I was giving a little thought to going to Richmond, Virginia, which was the capital of the Confederate States of America. Richmond is a treasure trove of Civil War history, as is Virginia in general.
Well....that trip is, shall we say, history.
I've blogged before about the fact that, as much as we feel we are one country, the Civil War still lies right underneath the skin of many of us. What I mean by that (sadly) is, it doesn't take too much to scratch under that skin and have some very ugly things bubble up.
There was one such bubbling up in Richmond, VA yesterday.
It wasn't just the Civil War Memory blog that reported the incident of marchers chanting the following: The Richmond Times-Dispatch paper also reported this incident of Sons of Confederate Veterans chanting the following during a march:
What do we do?
All of them
So....I am still going to make the trip. I will spend time in the Carolinas, and in Maryland.
The Virginia part of the trip will be cancelled. I am not welcome there.
This Yank will have no such part of such hate.