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Neighbor's flag upsets woman
Letter to the editor

Editor: On June 15, I got new neighbors. It was a joyous day. The neighboring house has been vacant for months. To know that the small house next door will not fall into disrepair and become an eye-sore was a relief to me. And, the new occupants were familiar to my husband. He met them two months prior, in April. When he walked in the house, he told me people were looking at the house and asking questions concerning the neighborhood.

My husband said that he explained to them that this is a quiet area, with few children. Since it is one of the older neighborhoods in our town, many of the residents are retired military or government workers. There is not much crime or noise. He said they seemed like good people and he hoped they’d purchase the house. They would be a welcome addition to this community.

When the moving truck arrived, I was delighted. Peeking out the window, I observed a man, a woman, an elderly woman and an American of African descent unloading the furniture. They appeared to be laughing and having a good time. I thought to myself, they are going to fit in this neighborhood just fine. This subdivision is totally diverse as far as race, social class and faith. They then placed an American flag on their front door flag post, fitting right in the normal landscape for this harmonious community.

Three day later, to my dismay, my neighbor became the rebel of the subdivision. The crisp, clean American flag no longer waves with the slight breeze. It was replaced with a brand new, out of the package, 1956 Georgia state flag.

Seeing this, I immediately felt my stomach drop. It was like part of me became filled with anxiety and the other part filled with anger. The nerve of these people moving in this contemporary neighborhood and starting discord. I wanted to run over to their house and give them a piece of my mind. But I have much more respect for myself than to act demented. I decided to learn about that flag, which in 2017 is deemed by many as a symbol of Southern pride and Southern honor.

What I discovered was interesting. This Southern ideogram did not happen overnight. It was a long, calculated process.

Human trafficking is probably as old as war itself. Human trafficking was a way of life in the South. Plantation owners made abundant money and amassed a considerable amount of acreage. Mind you, human trafficking was the backbone of their wealth.

This brings us to the South’s war of human inequality, known as the "Civil War." It is written the "Stars and Bars" flag was used to distinguish it from the Union flag on the battlefield. In 1861, the first Confederate "Stars and Bars" reigned over the Confederate capitol in Montgomery, Alabama. By the time the war ended, there were few Confederate flags being waved.

But over time, the men and women who served the Confederate cause of human inequality, intolerance and the plantation master were immortalized in stone, bronze and mortar. And, as in decades past, the "Stars and Bars: was raised again. This time, instead of war, Southern whites protested federal involvement in what they perceived as their state’s rights.

In 1954, the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education found separate public schools for blacks and whites were unconstitutional. In 1956, Georgia incorporated the Confederate battle flag into its state flag to show resistance to federal efforts to end segregation. Two men, Rep. Denmark Groover and Gov. Marvin Griffin, expressed the view the flag, "will serve notice that we intend to uphold what we stood for, will stand for, and will fight for."

In Griffin’s 1956 State of the State address, he said, "There will be no mixing of the races in the public schools and colleges classrooms of Georgia anywhere or at any time as long as I am governor."

When I saw the 1956 Georgia flag in this neighborhood, I was truly upset. This flag does not represent every man, women and child in our neighborhood. The sight of that flag tarnishes this community.

The next day, I had my husband go out and buy a flag for our front yard. The American flag has printed on it the words: "Pledge: Hope, United, Liberty." When anyone visits the subdivision, no matter what race, creed, gender or color, they are welcome.

This is the America we want to achieve.

Donna Gamble


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