Operation Phase Out Has Begun
In various places down South, the Confederate battle flag and other reminders of the Lost Cause are gradually being eradicated, and being replaced with more politically correct symbols. In Richmond, the “Cathedral of the Confederacy” has removed needlepoint kneelers and its coat of arms. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where Robert E. Lee and President Jefferson Davis frequently attended services, has decided to shed some images that reflect its historic ties to the Confederacy. The church “voted overwhelmingly to embark on a new journey of racial reconciliation,” church leaders said in a statement. Two plaques honoring Lee and Davis will also be removed.
In Wichita, Kansas, the Confederate Battle Flag will no longer fly in Veterans Memorial Park. The Board of Park commissioners voted to put up the Kansas state flag in its place. According to a press release, the group behind the push believes the flag was dishonored by the City of Wichita when it was temporarily removed in July amid nationwide controversy surrounding the meaning behind the flag. Several veterans spoke in defense of keeping the Confederate Flag at the park. Among them, one man clarified that the Confederate flag is a battle flag and is a teaching tool of history and a reminder of war’s bloodshed.
“That battle flag means more than just a historical reference. It means divisiveness, it means hatred, it means a whole lot of things that people here in Kansas for whatever reason, don’t seem to understand,” said Larry Burks, a Wichita veteran.
In the criticism of hoisting the state flag at the memorial, some veterans said the Kansas flag is not a “national flag” and does not carry the same representation as the Confederate Battle Flag. Those in support of keeping the Confederate flag down said flying the Kansas flag instead shows that the Sunflower State is an open and welcoming place.
In Tallahassee, Florida, without a formal vote, the Florida Senate agreed to strip the Confederate battle flag from its official seal, removing one of the few remaining vestiges of the infamous icon in state government. Senators agreed without objection to adopt a new rule removing the controversial emblem from the chamber’s insignia. Approving the change without objection avoided the need for even a voice vote on the emotional issue. Under the rule, the seal would still include other non-American flags that flew over Florida, including the 1513 Spanish flag, the 1564 French flag and the 1763 flag of Great Britain. The United States flag would also remain, while the Florida state flag would replace the Confederate banner on the marker.
“I’m glad that we are taking it down and recognizing the Confederate flag for what it is,” Sen. Oscar Braynon, a black Democrat from Miami Gardens, said after the session. “What it is, is a symbol of a time when this country went to war to keep my ancestors in slavery.”
Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said he wasn’t aware that the chamber was going to take up the issue during the special redistricting session. Bradley also raised questions about whether the Senate should look at other options for the seal, including an overhaul of the symbol that goes beyond simply replacing one flag. “If you look at all the flags on the seal, I think you would find that there were things that occurred in the name of some of those flags that history has now looked upon as being abhorrent and terrible,” he said.
And in Natchitoches, Louisiana, the Sons of Confederate Veterans were excluded from the Christmas Parade held on December 5. This was perpetrated with a time frame that kept them from legally doing anything about it this year. The Town of Many, Louisiana, did not participate in the Natchitoches Christmas Parade in support of the SCV and invited the SCV to be in their Christmas parade on December 12.
The Mayor of Natchitoches, Lee Posey, refused to allow the SCV to march in the Christmas Parade as it has done for decades unless the SCV agreed to march without the Flags of the Confederacy. The committee organizing the parade agreed to support the Mayor in this act of politically correct exclusion. Members of the Historic District Business Association and the business owners of Front Street were not contacted when the mayor made his decision. They are outraged over the city’s position and supported the SCV being in the Christmas Parade.