Sunday, July 28, 2013

"I Am Their Flag" recited by H.K. Edgerton

"I Am Their Flag" is a poem written by Michael Bradley. It is recited here by H.K. Edgerton.

The Confederate battle flag did not stand for a government. It is a symbol of soldiers and civilians, white and black, men and women, elderly and children, who stood defiant against invasion at the hands of a foreign state. It is a symbol of common shared history, heritage, suffering, and the aspiration of for freedom, for independence from a domineering and aggressive federal government.

Like any symbol, it is abused and misused by people all across the political spectrum for their own agendas. But this is what the flag means to those descendants who today see past all the self-serving rhetoric of politicians and their gullible acolytes from the fringes of the left and the right. This is what the battle flag means to those, like Mr. Edgerton, whose ancestors defended their families and homes from aggression - a struggle that goes on in every time and in every place around the world.

We will not be bullied or intimidated by cowards and quislings (regardless of their political views) who don't get it and who never will.

God bless H.K. Edgerton, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and all other historical organizations dedicated to the memory of those who sacrificed, fought, and in hundreds of thousands of cases, died for independence during the Southern national period and in all other epochs of human history when brave men and women said "no" to tyranny.

The "you lost get over it" attitude of ignorant mockery displayed by many today is yet another example of the slide of our culture into barbarism, where "winning" is more important than honor.  What a slap in the faces of, say, the more than 58,000 Americans who perished in the lost cause of the Vietnam War to imply that they should not be remembered or honored because "they lost."  The Confederate battle flag stands defiant also against such cultural shallowness and outright hatred of anyone who wishes to be left alone.  It is a symbol that is as relevant today as it was when our great-great-grandparents first unfurled it.  It is the property of all Americans, and indeed of all people around the world, who refuse to bow before the idol of Caesar.

Deo vindice!


Rev. Larry Beane said...

HT: Cmdr Elliott Cummings

L Brown said...

Wouldn't the honorable thing be for the descendants of the Confederates, and all other Americans, to give this land back to the Native Americans who were driven from it and forced into reservations? Or should they just get over that and realize it's the 21st century, they lost, time to move forward with a positive agenda for the future?

You can take this as a foolish remark if you like. But it is meant in all seriousness. Personally, I think trying to relitigate past conflicts isn't about honor but rather pride and orneriness. And deciding how far back to go is usually done based on one's own ethnic identity.

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear L. Brown:

You make a great point about the Indians. Obviously, they were unspeakably victimized - well into the 20th century. And as they were originally organized in stateless societies, and land claims predating living people are dubious even when there is a state and a paper trail - it would be an impossible task to iron it all out. At least they have full citizenship these days, and it would be proper to allow them to secede if it be the will of their people (there is actually talk about this in Hawaii - whose lawful government was overthrown by Dole employees with the help of the US military in 1894).

The Indians got a fairer shake from the CSA than from the USA. What is today Oklahoma seceded from the Union and joined the CSA as a territory. The last confederate general to surrender was Stand Watie, a Cherokee.

Native Americans rightfully honor their ancestors who resisted the United States government throughout the 19th century. Chief Joseph was a truly great American whose people were hounded (largely women and children) by the federal government - and Joseph's manly resistance was courageous and honorable, as was his ultimate surrender to avoid the complete genocide of his people.

Americans are wise to erect monuments to courageous men such as Chief Jospeh, especially in this day and age when "heroes" are typically multi-millionaire musicians, actors, athletes, or people famous for dropping f-bombs or taking off their clothes on video. History provides us with examples of honor and resistance to tyranny. We should not turn a Nelson's Eye to these examples.

As far as honoring one's ancestors, I don't see how this is "relitigation." All people remember their heroes, win or lose. The United States was humiliated in Vietnam, nevertheless, there is something cathartic about the granite wall in Washington, DC - especially for the survivors and their families. I think it would be cold indeed to tell our Vietnam vets - many of whom still bear the mental and physical anguish of the war they didn't ask to be part of - to "get over it" because "it's the 21st century." I have many older parishioners who call to mind life events of more than 60 years ago, and though to us, it is "ancient history," but to them these events are fresh in their minds, and they continue to bear the scars of their pain.


Rev. Larry Beane said...


I think those who lose wars and those who suffer devastation (such as the Native Americans, Southerners, Europeans, Russians, the Japanese, Rwandans, etc.) are an enigma to most modern Americans, most of whose experience with wartime devastation is watching it on TV (combat vets and their families excepted). Civilians go to the shooting range and fantasize at video games, but the veterans are the ones with PTSD and missing limbs. Modern Americans often have very little sense of heritage - unless it's about winning, conquering, and chest-thumping. If it involves a "lost cause," or something inconvenient to American self-adulation (like the way Asian American families were imprisoned in camps on American soil in WW2, or the way German Lutherans were abused in WW1), the attitude is "nothing to see, long time ago, move on!"

Likewise, the Church continues to celebrate feast days for our martyrs and heroes of the past, many of whom were historically obscure, they did not "win" in the worldly sense, and even though their deaths happened centuries ago. We don't "get over" them because they were defeated (in the secular sense) in the arena. We take time to honor them and remember them, yes, even love them, even though it is the 21st century. There is a thin veil separating the saints on earth and the saints in heaven; these are our brothers and sisters, and we would be remiss to brush off their memories. They are our heritage according to our heavenly citizenship.

I think it is important to remember, to honor, to learn lessons from history, to see our history as not just an amalgam of dates and names and geography, but to learn from it and to understand that these were real people, and we today are their flesh and blood, their posterity.

Thanks for writing!