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Removing flag doesn't change history

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POSTED: April 5, 2007 5:15 a.m.
Removing the Dixie flag from the South Carolina Capitol grounds did not change history nor erase it from our minds.
This controversial decision did not provide the anticipated healing between the races nor mend the divisiveness between the North and South. Resentments still linger in current generations. “Out of sight; out of mind” does not work here.
Civil War re-enactments are dramatized on both sides annually to celebrate remembered victories and recognize humiliating defeats. We seem to engage these historical events vicariously to make sense of it somehow.
I am not a huge fan of Abraham Lincoln as many are because he declared war on his own citizenry. The Southern states may have fired the first shot but it was defensive in nature.  
History is entirely subjective and interpretive, as no one is alive today to shed insight, although we do have historical documents and letters to guide our conclusions.  
As I recollect the historical events, the Southern states, including Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee declared sedition from the Union in the name of states’ rights, resulting from disagreements with Washington politics (which was a pretty big issue back then with a general distrust for a centralized government ruling the day.)  
Many believed the Union soldiers were fighting to free the slaves; but if you look closer, they were actually protecting the integrity of a relatively newly formed central government’s role in an emerging democracy. Many will dispute this viewpoint, but I will remind those who do that many Northern states had slaves prior to the Civil War too!
The president did not declare war on the slaveholders; the declaration of war was on the whole of Southern Dixieland for not towing the Washington political line as instructed.
My familial roots are resolutely planted in Charleston, S.C.; and I am proud of my southern heritage as many others are (not so much of my ancestors’ slavery practices; but I was not in charge back then.) I am a staunch advocate of states’ rights and not a fan of intrusive federal agendas.
Washington does not always see eye-to-eye with others on various issues; yet, they have the power to enforce upon others their point of view regardless if a state has endorsed the issue with their own legislative process.  
A smart federal prosecutor turned defense attorney once told me, “Federal law always trumps state law” Why? I never received a satisfactory answer. This philosophy borders on tyranny — exactly what our forefathers feared and why our Civil War veterans stood up in arms to prevent.
The rebel flag for many represents the fierce independence our Confederate heritage fought tenaciously to protect and rebel against ever expanding federal dictates. It does not represent the endorsement of slavery as some have suggested.
In South Carolina, you will still see the rebel flag flying next to the Gen. Robert E. Lee (statue), commander of the Confederate Army. In my opinion, this is a reminder of our proud Southern heritage and a remembrance of our Civil War veterans who fought and died in the hundreds of thousands to protect states’ rights and should never be removed.
Regardless of whether we officially surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant or not (some of our soldiers never did), our fierce independence still lives on.
The Civil War may have ended the unconscionably practices of slavery with the Proclamation of Emancipation effective Jan. 1, 1863, leading the way; but the effects of true equality amongst peoples came much later.
Progressive ideas of morality abolished slavery, indentured servitude and supported the advancement of the Civil Rights movement confronting blatant societal discrimination under the peaceful leadership of Martin Luther King. Dr. King rightfully knew lasting changes in people’s hearts only come through peace not war! Surely, we can rally behind these sentiments?
 

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