Columnist Frank Wooten claims to be among the “growing number” of state residents opposed to the Confederate flag’s “divisiveness.” What divisiveness? I see more people at odds over bicycle lanes than the flag. And what growing number, other than a small nucleus of always-adversarial “community leaders,” a few die-hard Confederaphobes on The Post and Courier staff, and a handful of transplants from up North who never run out of ways to show us how superior they are?
Removing the flag, according to Mr. Wooten, is “progress” that will appease the NAACP’s flag boycott and get us a second-tier bowl game. Heck, even Judas Iscariot got a better deal than that. The flag boycott is ignored by tourists who flock to Charleston in ever-growing numbers, and I run a successful tour business that attracts people of all races and backgrounds, who love the flags, forts and monuments from the War Between the States.
On my tours I always point out Fort Sumter, where the second national flag of the Confederacy, the “Stainless Banner,” flies over Federal property every day. I am a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who have rescued Castle Pinckney from a vine-covered eyesore to restore its historic look depicted by famed Civil War artist Conrad Wise Chapman. We often fly the same Stainless Banner, not for the purpose of offending anyone, but for historical accuracy and as a genuine symbol of a cause that tens of thousands of South Carolinians believed was the second American Revolution against a tyrannical government.
The biggest hole in Mr. Wooten’s argument is that he fails to grasp the one-sided nature of his position. We who honor the flag are just as offended by hateful, ignorant comments that distort its meaning, so why do our feelings count any less than someone else’s?
I don’t recall his objection to recent memorials dedicated on public property by the City of Charleston in honor of Union soldiers who battled Confederate defenders on Morris Island. Considering that these soldiers came here to kill Charlestonians and that the Federals mounted siege guns that bombarded defenseless civilians in this city for nearly two years, we could just as easily claim to be offended. But we don’t, because it is part of our collective past.
So I hope Frank Wooten will stop offending South Carolinians by calling for removal of a flag that representatives of the people agreed to place in a position of respect. If he really wants progress, he should call on the NAACP to stop their offensive tirade against others’ heritage, and to work instead against crime, drug use, broken families and disrupted schools that are truly creating divisiveness in our society today.
Marsh Court Lane
Remove it for hospitality
Frank Wooten’s description and prescription (“Furl that banner to prove progress,” Aug. 13) are both spot on.
Look, we’re asking the NCAA to approve and support football bowl, basketball tournament, and baseball playoff games in South Carolina. And they’re responding that our decision to fly the Confederate flag from such a prominent and arguably sovereign position at the Statehouse indicates unacceptable inhospitality to student athletes, their families and their fans.
See, we began flying the Confederate flag in 1961, and we still fly it today — the square instead of the rectangle, out in front instead of up on top. It is this prominent, continuous, everyday flying that causes our state to be judged inhospitable.
Do we wish to continue our state’s inhospitable behavior, or do we wish to find a hospitable way to honor and commemorate the sacrifice of those whom South Carolina called to serve?
We should follow North Carolina’s example and fly the Confederate flag only on South Carolina’s Confederate Memorial Day. Thus, we could honor the Confederate soldiers while staying true to our core value of hospitality.
Valley Springs Road
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