For over 100 years the Confederate Monument in Columbia stood as a silent, solitary tribute to the memory and the sacrifices of my ancestors and many of yours.

I’ve stood before it and tried to imagine the horrors they witnessed and the losses they suffered in blood and treasure. It was enough for me, just the granite and bronze and the memories it evoked.

The last time I visited the monument, the Confederate flag had been removed from the Capital dome and had been placed next to the statue of the soldier.

It somehow seemed to cheapen the experience I had previously felt when I stood there.

Somehow it didn’t seem to belong there. I can’t quite put it into words, but I’ll try.

The flapping of a flag is similar to a heartbeat and more expressive of a living thing. The South they knew isn’t alive anymore, and we need to acknowledge that.

Let’s not drag our heritage through antagonistic, divisive debates any longer.

Furl the flag, honorably, and retire it to a final resting place and leave it there to be revered by those who choose to do so.

Merrill D. Ridgway

McRoy Street

North Charleston