Today I am either in Honduras or Belize. I may or may not have internet today so you are reading a newsletter that was drafted on Wednesday, November 18th and scheduled for delivery today. So if the news does not appear to be as fresh please excuse. Next week's Dixie Heritage Letter will be written from my office in Florida.
Please feel free to eMail and at some time in my trip when I have access to internet I will read your comments and reply as needed.
Any items ordered from last week's newsletter will ship on December 2nd along with any items ordered from today's letter.
Our first item is something I found on the SNOPES website:
MYTHS ABOUT THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG
"MYTH: The Confederate Battle Flag is known as the "Stars & Bars.
FACT: A common misconception. The First National Confederate Flag is correctly known as the "Stars & Bars." The Confederate Battle Flag is known as the "Southern Cross."
As related above, it is true in literal historical sense that the term "Stars and Bars" properly applies only to the first Confederate national flag and not to the much more familiar Confederate battle flag. But insisting on that nomenclature is like arguing that the lowest denomination of U.S. coinage should properly be called a "one-cent piece" and not a "penny" - some linguistic usages have become so entrenched in American culture over a long period of time that those who maintain those usages are wrong are now the outliers.
MYTH: The Confederate Battle Flag represented the Southern Nation.
FACT: Not true. While the Southern Battle flag was carried into battle, the Southern Nation had 3 different National flags during the course of the war.
The First National flag was changed due to a resemblance of the US flag.
The Second National flag was subsequently modified due to the similarity to a flag
The Third National flag was the adopted flag of the Confederacy.
The Confederate Battle Flag was never a National Flag of the Confederacy. It was carried into battle by several armies such as the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of Tennessee. Was also used as a Naval Jack by the Confederate Navy.
Here we come to an entry that might properly be characterized as "technically true yet misleading." Yes, all of the statements above are correct: the Confederate battle flag was never officially the national flag of the Confederate States of America; in that specific form it represented military entities and not the civil government. Nonetheless, by the mid-point of the Civil War the Southern Cross design had become so well-known and popular that it was incorporated as an element of a new Confederate national flag, and it was widely recognized at the time by the citizens of the Confederacy as a symbol of their nation and cause.
MYTH: The Confederate Battle Flag represents racism today.
FACT: The Confederate Battle Flag today finds itself in the center of much controversy and hoopla going on in several states. The cry to take this flag down is unjustified. It is very important to keep in mind that the Confederate Battle Flag was simply just that. A battle flag. It was never even a National flag, so how could it have flown over a slave nation or represented slavery or racism? This myth is continued by lack of education and ignorance. Those that vilify the Confederate Battle Flag are very confused about history and have jumped upon a bandwagon with loose wheels.
MYTH: The Confederate Flags are an authorized symbol of Aryan, KKK and hate groups.
FACT: Quite the contrary. Organizations such as the KKK and Aryans have taken a hallowed piece of history, and have plagued good Southern folks and the memories of fine Confederate Soldiers that fought under the flag with their agenda.
IN NO WAY does the Confederate Flag represent hate or violence. Heritage groups such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans battle daily the damage done to a proud nation by "hate" groups.
Herein lies the problem with symbols: They have no inherent meanings; they have only whatever meanings people choose to read into them, and different people can associate very different meanings with the same symbol. The Confederate battle flag is now regarded in many different ways - as a symbol of slavery, as a rallying banner for white supremacists, as a quaint historical artifact, as a memorial to those who fought gallantly and bravely, as a benign display of regional pride, or even as a fond reminder of two "good ol' boys" who were "never meanin' no harm."
It is true that for several decades after the War, the Confederate battle flag was not widely perceived as a negative symbol. Its use was largely limited to historical ceremonies associated with veterans' events and war memorials; the flag did not become the symbol most prominently associated with the Confederacy until several decades after the War ended, and it was not widely perceived as a politically polarizing symbol until it was appropriated by segregationist politicians and groups in the middle of the twentieth century.
However, the fact remains that the Confederate battle flag has long since become the pre-eminent symbol of the Confederacy and what it stood for, and across the span of several decades it has been co-opted by segregationist and white supremacist groups such as the Dixiecrats, the KKK, and the Aryan Nation.
Certainly one can be a racist or a white supremacist without associating himself with "Southern Pride" or a Confederate battle flag, but for better or worse the Confederate government and its military forces ceased to exist 150 years ago and therefore have no say or control over the usage of the Southern Cross.
Editor's Note: I am not certain if the above SNOPES item was written by a friend of our heritage or simply by a level-headed yankee. Either way, I am happy that SNOPES is not jumping on the anti-flag bandwagon. To share in detail the TRUTH about our Flag simply visit our website and request a FREE eCopy of my book The Truth About the Confederate Battle Flag.
I probably should have put this in last week's letter. Basically what has happened is that on Monday a small quorum of Florida State Senators, while meeting in a "special session" on a different issue, used a technical procedure to sneakily remove the Confederate Flag from the Senate Seal WITHOUT waiting for the Senate to vote on the measure next year.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Without a formal vote, the Florida Senate on Monday 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.
After some hesitation when the change first came up, senators --- back in Tallahassee for a redistricting special session --- 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 approved Monday, 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.
Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, and Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, requested in June that the Senate Rules Committee consider whether to change the seal amid a national backlash against Confederate symbols after a man with white supremacist views opened fire at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C., killing nine people.
Since then, Southern states, including Florida, have wrestled with how to reconcile past commemorations of "the lost cause" with shifting feelings about race and the meaning of the Civil War.
While many Southerners view displays of the Confederate banner as recognition of their ancestors' military service and sacrifice, blacks and others interpret government use of the flag as an endorsement of the brutal, slave-driven economy that was a central issue in the war, which raged from 1860 to 1865.
"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."
Senate Rules Committee Chairman David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, defended the proposal on the floor of the Senate by pointing to U.S. Supreme Court rulings rejecting the legality of the decision by 11 Southern states to secede from the Union during the conflict.
"The flags on the current seal appear to presume to represent sovereign nations. However, our research established that the Confederacy was never legally a sovereign nation," Simmons said.
No one openly objected to the change of the Senate seal during the debate. However, 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.
But Gardiner defended moving forward with the changes now, saying it would take time to remove the old seal from various places around the Capitol. Bradley's concerns, and questions from other senators, initially caused Senate leaders to pull back from the change before moving ahead with it later in the day.
Perhaps because of that, Gardiner told reporters after Monday's session that the seal could be altered again. "I think the understanding working with Senator Simmons is, he's going to work with the members, and the seal may change some more," Gardiner said.
WICHITA, Kan. - You will no longer see the Confederate Battle Flag flying in Wichita's Veterans Memorial Park. In a standing-room-only meeting Monday afternoon, the Board of Park commissioners voted to keep the Confederate flag down and to put up the Kansas state flag in its place.
""We went through a process, talking to a lot of folks and getting perspective," said Troy Hautman, the director of Parks and Recreation. "And they voted in that direction. To me, it's our local government in action, doing what we do best - trying to represent the community," he said.
Some hoping to bring back the Confederate Battle Flag to Wichita's Veterans Memorial Park showed their support at the Park Board meeting.
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.
The veteran presenter for the group, Herb Duncan, said he planned to defend the flag on behalf of Phil Blake, whom they say is the "father" of the park.
"The battle flag represents the fighting spirit of America, that's the way we take it," Duncan said.
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.
Veterans at Monday afternoon's meeting opposed to the Confederate Flag say it is associated with slavery and isn't necessary to show respect to ancestors.
"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.
" I know when I look at it and when most African Americans look at the flag, it means terror, racism, hatred. all the wrong things. It does not represent what America is all about," Burks said.
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.
The Kansas State flag will be raised in a few weeks. An accompanying plaque will installed in a couple of months.
On Monday, the parks board also voted to build a new memorial at the park.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
15th Annual Maj. W.M. Footman Camp #1950 SCV Holiday/Christmas party at the beautiful Capt. F.A. Hendry House in Labelle, Florida.
Saturday December 5th, meal begins at 2pm but we would like everyone there earlier between say noon and 1pm.
Setup Help is needed be there around 10am.
Tickets are $5 a piece right now but $8 day of event. BBQ Chicken and ribs, sodas, water, tea and coffee. Please bring a generous side dish or desert.
For further info contact:
Cmdr Robert Gates 239-332-2408
Adj. Thomas Fyock 239-699-6781
VISIT OUR WEBSITE:
YES, we are still giving a FREE eBook (PDF) copy of the book The Truth About the Confederate Flag to everyone who visits the website - so tell your friends - and your enemies!
Until next week,