LETTER: Pride in Confederate flag 'misguided'
I saw a Confederate flag the other day in Cloquet, of all places. It caused me to reflect on the meaning of that symbol.
That flag was created during the American Civil War, and the people who carried it fired on the American flag, the Stars and Stripes, as it were. The Civil War was fought over the question of slavery, and the people who carried the Confederate flag fought to preserve that evil institution. After the war broke out, some claimed the struggle was over states' rights, but the only right in question was the right to enslave others.
Minnesota contributed heavily in blood and treasure to put down the rebellion and end slavery. Over 25,000 men participated — over half of the eligible male population. Minnesota families were deprived of their husbands, fathers, sons and breadwinners. An appalling number never returned in this, the bloodiest of America's wars. The 1st Minnesota Regiment made a desperate charge at Gettysburg perhaps saving the battle for the Union and suffering over 80 percent casualties in the span of a few minutes.
When I see a Confederate flag after all of these years, I cannot help but think of what it symbolizes. To those who carried it, and to those who fought it, it meant treason, and it meant slavery. The veterans of that great struggle are no longer with us, but I thank God for their sacrifice and hope they rest easy in their graves. If they somehow can see us now I would ask for forgiveness for their misguided countrymen who show that flag.