I’m writing in response to the Confederate flags being planted along the highways by a group called the Virginia Flaggers.
I don’t believe that the Virginia Flaggers are Nazis or white supremacists. They seek to honor their past and their ancestors who fought bravely. But this symbol of Southern pride has unfortunately been dragged through the mire of hatred and odious ideology and it no longer symbolizes any ideal of honor.
Its use in rallies by Nazis and white supremacists makes it indistinguishable from that ideology. It stands now for hatred and wounded pride and an inability to move on.
I am proud to be a Southerner. I am proud of the hospitality and resilience of the people of my adopted homeland (I’ve only been here for 45 years). The South has risen again and it is diverse and kind and strong. Its people are ready to embrace a world in which all people are created equal. Everywhere I turn I see a groundswell of activity in which people of honor and integrity are finding creative ways to make our communities better places to live.
There is so much to take pride in about being a Southerner. Clinging to this symbol denigrates us in the world’s eyes. I hope this group will see the sense of taking it down and replacing it with a true symbol of who we are. It’s embarrassing.
Editor's Note: this letter originally appeared in the April 5th edition of the Central Virginian, and has been re-posted here with the author's permission.