A Letter to the Editor: The US Civil War is Over!

I am 56 years old and never before have I seen more “northerners” flying the Army of Virginia Battle Flag (AKA the most common symbol of the Confederate States of America). My own ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the US Civil War, WWII, and the Korean War to create and maintain the sovereignty of the “United States of America.” That “United” thing is the foundational principle that we must now be taking for granted. We are, by design, a “United” set of states that represent and support the freedom and liberties of ALL citizens. “American” is an inclusive category within which “all men (and women) are created equal.”

The “Confederate Flag” (Army of Virginia Battle Flag), that one used by the Dukes of Hazzard, is not the first (or second) Confederate Flag, but we all must acknowledge that it is the most recognizable symbol of the Confederate States of America. For any Ohioan to embrace that symbol of disunity, segregation, and inhumanity is a slap in the face to all that served to preserve our union. Over 620,000 men lost their lives in the US Civil War and Ohio experienced the 2nd largest number of casualties (behind New York). Way back in elementary school I learned that those Ohio men were killed by soldiers in gray uniforms, fighting to break our union, flying the flag of the Confederacy.

My dad served in the US Navy during both WWII and the Korean War. In the “big one” (WWII) we fought Nazi Germany which most would recognize as the soldiers in the gray uniforms, fighting to overthrow world freedom, flying the flag of the Nazi Party (that one with the swastika on it). We universally recognize the Nazi flag as a symbol of human bloodlust, inhumanity, and hatred, and most people would never consider flying it outside of their home. Yet, some citizens of the Great State of Ohio proudly fly the Confederate Flag in their front yard and state that it is merely an anti-government symbol.

You see, I don’t believe that is the true message that they are seeking to present. I believe that they are both racist and indifferent to local history and civil behavior. On top of that, I think they would rather blame the government for all of their personal problems because it is easier than looking in the mirror and taking any personal responsibility for them.

Here it is, and I really believe that this is not “fake news”. The “Confederate Flag” is a symbol of disunity, racism, ignorance, and self-pity. To say that “the Civil War was not about slavery” is complete and utter nonsense. Each of the seceding states actually documented that the right to maintain the institution of slavery was a primary reason to secede from the United States of America. Over 180,000 Black Americans (many liberated slaves) served in the Civil War (under that other flag, the beautiful one, currently with the 50 stars and 13 stripes).

So, let’s “cut through the crap” and say it like it is. Flying the Confederate Flag in Ohio means that you are insensitive to the feelings of non-whites (and most people actually), ignorant of and/or indifferent to your own history, and would rather wallow in self-pity being a “victim of governmental manipulation” than stepping up to serve as a “self-advocate” to improve your own life.

I am not at all impressed when you fly (or embrace) the Confederate Flag.

Tim Rickabaugh, Professor of Exercise Science

One Reply to “A Letter to the Editor: The US Civil War is Over!”

  1. well said. i agree fully. the confederate flag is a symbol of racism and hate and only succeeds in showing small mindedness. On the other hand it does help to highlight exactly who to avoid (anyone sporting this symbol).

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