As a transplanted southerner, 76 years of age and living in the rocky mountain area for over 45 years, I feel the need to respond to Emma Bowen’s Nov. 19 article, “A Heritage of Hatred.” I can agree that a lot of what was written is true but to understand what the confederate flag represents, please go back to the year 1861 and the Battle of Manassas.
The flags were originally designed to help the generals distinguish their forces from the enemy in battle after the first battle of Manassas, 1861. General Beauregard had asked for a distinction because of the friendly fire. General Robert E. Lee was the first to use the new battle flag in 1861 after the first Battle of Manassas. In time immemorial, standards and flags have been used to identify an army.
As with a lot of symbols, flags can be misused and maligned. As years have passed, the Confederate flag has become a rallying flag for extremists. I grew up in Virginia, lived in the town where Lee surrendered to Grant, “The Crater” and later lived in Manassas. The flag was not a flag to just say we were Southern; we saw it as a symbol of pride and heritage. Both sides of my family fought in the Civil War. My father’s side for the north and my mother’s side for the south. I even have letters from my families relatives written home during the battles. My Families were not slave owners, they were just doing their duty as they saw fit.
It would be sad to me to think just because one saw a Confederate flag one would immediately think racists. But, that is today’s thinking, not the 1860s. But, as Ms. Bowen so eloquently wrote in her article her opinion, I am writing my opinion. We fought for this privilege also.
When I read Ms. Bowen’s headline, I cringed. A heritage of hated the Confederate flag is not. When you see the British flag do you think “oppression?” Probably not, but there was a time when that was the case. I could go on and on but would like one to consider history first.
Rebecca L. Foster