Some symbols of the Confederacy I accept, not for what they represent, but in a spirit of reconciliation.

When the Civil War ended, we as a nation faced the task of putting ourselves back in order, once again to unite as a community. Historians agree that the war was fought largely to prevent the end of slavery. Many who fought on the losing side did so with a sense of honor, even as their side was not fighting for an honorable cause. I welcome the rebels’ return to our great country, along with the symbols they chose to treasure.

The Confederate battle flag might have remained one of those symbols, accepted and tolerated by the rest of us because of what they represented to the South, as reminders to us all of the need to accept, tolerate and move forward. However, that flag has a history not shared by other symbols of the rebellion.

The battle flag was given new life in the 1950s and ’60s as the South once again drew battle lines, this time against the forces of desegregation.

Once it was flown in defiance of desegregation, it was no longer a symbol of honor, or history, and most certainly was not flown in any spirit of reconciliation. Those who chose to use it in that way made it into a symbol of hate, of bigotry, of unspeakable violence. In so doing they defiled that flag, destroying any sense of honor it may have once claimed, indelibly linking it to the evils of Jim Crow in the eyes of many Americans.

No symbol of the hatred of one group for another has any business flying on the property of a government that represents all people.

We are all Americans.

Take down that flag.

Richard Cook

E. Montague Avenue

Charleston