No one person in the history of the United States is more directly attached to the Confederate Battle Flag than Jefferson Davis.
Much of my life has been attached to this historic figure and my reaching for an understanding of the president of the Confederate States of America and his relation to our country’s history. I have confronted this issue directly and have come to the conclusion and agreement with the opinions of many; this flag has become a symbol that divides our country.
The argument of heritage has validity if used in an historical context and placed in the proper perspective and location. Public display has always been an issue, by opening up wounds of hurt from the past, for many people. The latest catastrophic event, by an individual who supports this flag, has opened another discussion about the right place for the flag and its interpretation.
As a descendant of Jefferson Davis, I have seen this flag used to represent his entire life. Forgotten are the first 52 years of his life as an American patriot. West Point, U.S. Army, U.S. representative, secretary of war and senator, along with his many great accomplishments for this country, are all forgotten. As you look at the Capitol of the United States today, few know the impact that Jefferson Davis had on making this building what you see today. All of this history has been replaced to instead focus on his position as president of the Confederacy and its ties to the battle flag.
That history, as seen from the American people’s perspective and attachment to the battle flag, creates the same divisions that we are seeing today in our country. It is time that this flag be folded and placed in the right historic perspective and locations.
Jefferson Davis preached, after the war, that we have one country and should focus on making it that which God intended. History cannot be erased; it must be remembered and told with fact and truth.
Symbols that are currently used to create fear or mistrust have no good purpose in this day and time. It is time for the Confederate battle flag to be part of historical collections and not a public symbol to any one person, group or organization. The time for division is over, and we must all come together for the future unity of this country.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. This is my flag, as it should be throughout our entire country.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – This column was originally published in The Clarion-Ledger, a Gannett company.)