Letter: Confederate flag is what you make it

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 29, 2015

LaGrange Daily News,

I read the Facebook post about the flag controversy and taking down the license plate at the tag office (article “Office axes flag display” in the June 25 edition). I am going to give you an outsider point of view since I am from West Virginia.

Growing up and learning about the Civil War in school, the Confederate flag was not part of any lessons; but it was in most of the pictures in the history books, but it was not a big deal. As I got older, I fell into the trap of believing that it was simply of racism and hate.

When I moved down here to join the Army at Fort Benning, the flag was everywhere. I did not think much of it because it was a Southern thing. When I got married I would have this discussion with my wife and would express my views and thoughts on it, and she would correct me and tell me some history that I really did not look into till after all the controversy.

For me, when I saw the picture of the person who did the shooting in South Carolina, I did not notice the flag; all I saw was a person who was filled with hate and ignorance. Then the controversy came about the flag, so I did what every smart person should do – I did research to find the true meaning behind the flag.

I asked people I worked with; I Googled it to find the facts. As I searched, I finally understood what it meant. I will not go into what I found – I don’t want other people to be lazy and not do their own research, so they can find their own facts.

The fact is the Confederate flag is what you make it. If you make it a symbol of hate, it will be that symbol; if you make it a symbol of Southern pride, then that is what it is.

For me it is something that is part of history, and it is part of the United States’ history, and it should never be forgotten, but a history that should be told right. Yes, the Confederate flag has been used by a minority as a symbol of hate by those who are ignorant and by those who have been brought up with that hate, but it is mostly a symbol of Southern pride.

Should it be taken down? That is not for me to decide. I don’t fly it because I am not from the South, so I really do not care about it. To me it is just a flag and a part of history, but it should be a choice of the people.

Does not the first line of the United States Constitution say WE THE PEOPLE? So it should be choice of the people in the states it affects; it should not be a politician’s decision.

Billy Nestor