The Civil War (or its other names in different parts of the country- the War Between the States being one) was the bloodiest conflict in the history of our country. It is almost, at 620,000, comparable to all of the wars that we have been in at 686,000. It is 215,000 more than World War II. Our nation was ripped asunder by the conflict and it has not died down yet. The surrender at Appomattox was just the beginning of a festering sore in our psyche.

Reconstruction was hell for the South, as the federal government attempted to exact its due from the defeated South. Although none of us were alive then, the carpetbaggers had their effect on what is going on today. The current populace of the South is still angered by the domination of the other parts of the country in many areas.

However, the economics of our current time favors the South and the West. The rustbelt, the antagonists during the Civil War, is not faring well. Our country is once again divided. This time into the Red and the Blue States, with pockets of the other color in certain sections of each state. This kind of division shows itself in our federal congress, our supreme court and in our executive branch. Don’t kid yourself; the conflicts are not only among the upper echelons of our government, but in families and friends.

The Confederate Flag is just one symbol of the discontent. It is not just a symbol of the lost Confederacy; it is a symbol of many other splits in our country; the wealth gap, the racial divide, the immigration problem, and so many other things.

If you believe that the Confederate flag symbolizes only a historical event, look again. The Stars and Bars has its equivalent in some 12,000 monuments across the country, in all parts of the country. In many parts of our land, it is venerated as much as our American Flag. The point of it all is not to forget. The question is what we are not supposed to forget. Was it cotton, slavery, an economic system, an interpretation of the constitution featuring state’s rights, a call for small government, a rant against political correctness, or even personal rights?

No matter what it means in people’s minds, its time as a symbol is long gone. We should not view its taking down in South Carolina as a payment for the deaths of folks in a Charleston Church. It only troubles people. It wasn’t only the South or the North that lost those 620,000 soldiers; it was families that were destroyed, cities that were pulverized, and the uprooting of parts of our country.

As I sit and listen to Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, and tears really come to my eyes, I am saddened that we can at once be Americans all, and then split into separate groups. We are one people, under God with liberty and justice for all. We are not a separate group of people holding up separate symbols for our way of life, we are a country founded by people from all parts of the 13 colonies. We freed ourselves from England. Let’s not keep ourselves apart because of a flag.



    • Cite On this day in 1956, two years after pushing to have the phrase “under God” inserted into the pledge of allegiance, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the nation’s official motto. The law, P.L. 84-140, also mandated that the phrase be printed on all American paper currency. The phrase had been placed on U.S. coins since the Civil War when, according to the historical association of the United States Treasury, religious sentiment reached a peak. Eisenhower’s treasury secretary, George Humphrey, had suggested adding the phrase to paper currency as well.

      Although some historical accounts claim Eisenhower was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, most presidential scholars now believe his family was Mennonite. Either way, Eisenhower abandoned his family’s religion before entering the Army, and took the unusual step of being baptized relatively late in his adult life as a Presbyterian. The baptism took place in 1953, barely a year into his first term as president.

      Although Eisenhower embraced religion, biographers insist he never intended to force his beliefs on anyone. In fact, the chapel-like structure near where he and his wife Mamie are buried on the grounds of his presidential library is called the “Place of Meditation” and is intentionally inter-denominational. At a Flag Day speech in 1954, he elaborated on his feelings about the place of religion in public life when he discussed why he had wanted to include “under God” in the pledge of allegiance: “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”

      The first paper money with the phrase “In God We Trust” was not printed until 1957. Since then, religious and secular groups have argued over the appropriateness and constitutionality of a motto that mentions “God,” considering the founding fathers dedication to maintaining the separation of church

  1. There are two separate events happening this summer that are recalling a single memory:
    1) S.C. removes the Confederate flag
    2) my eldest daughter is going to college; move-in day is coming soon

    It reminds me of my “move-in day” at the Univ. of S. Carolina. My first year at USC, I was placed in a dorm that was an old 15 story hotel that stood directly across the street from the State Capitol. If you wanted to take a picture of the capitol for a postcard, you would want to be looking out my 4th story window. I clearly remember seeing that Confederate flag flying under the US Flag and thinking, “not in Kansas anymore”. It always made me feel like an outsider. I’m glad they are taking it down. Ditch the flag, but keep the sweet tea! Oh, and the world might be a better place without boiled peanuts.

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