Acorn Wheel

Heritage or Hate?

The Confederate Battle Flag has become a controversial symbol. To many, it is a symbol of Southern Heritage and Southern Pride. To others, it represents racism, segregation, and prejudice. Spirited debate has been held in Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi to determine the appropriateness of displaying the Battle Flag by the state governments.

I personally like the flag. I think it has one of the most pleasing designs of the flags in our country's history. I agree that it represents the independent streak that runs in America. It is the flag of defiance for underdogs, nose-thumbers, rebels, dissidents, and malcontents. Unfortunately, I also agree that it also represents America's "original sin": slavery, discrimination, and prejudice. (This is "original sin" as in a defining sin, like Adam & Eve's, and not to imply that slavery is an American invention or exclusive franchise. Probably every tribe, people, or culture has felt the yoke of bondage at some point in their history. Unfortunately, it still exists today.)

I saw Shelby Foote interviewed about the flag and the issue of heritage and hate. He felt that Southerners lost the franchise on the flag in the 1950's and 1960's when the white supremacists used it as a symbol of segregation. Objections about its usage should have been raised then to keep it representing our heritage and Southern pride. When they weren't raised, the flag lost its original meaning and changed to represent a negative. It is like when 'zipper' lost its brand name through common usage and now is a generic term.

The people who say that the flag represents hate have a very strong argument. Our original Georgia flag was based on the Stars and Bars, the original "official" flag of the Confederacy.

Stars and Bars (1861-1863)
Georgia Flag until 1956
Georgia Flag 1956-2001

It was changed to include the Battle Flag in 1956 after the US Supreme Court ended segregation. This seems more like an act to represent the status quo of Jim Crow, and not a way of asserting states rights or honoring heritage.

Governor Zell Miller tried to get the flag reverted back to the original state flag, the one based on the original Confederate flag. He was attacked by legions of people screaming "Heritage". Although many arguing had legitimate points, I though that most of the arguments were ignorant. If they really wanted to honor the brave souls who sacrificed during the War of Succession, (and yes, I am related to plenty) what more appropriate flag to use than one based on the Stars and Bars?

To make matters worse, the people driving around the courthouse with the Rebel Flag flying, or had bumpers stickers supporting the 1956 flag were usually using a rectangular flag, not a square one. The Rebel Flag was designed square. It is displayed properly on the 1956 flag. The rectangular flag is the Navy Jack and is used on boats and ships. Yes, I know that troops in the western theater and at Chattanooga/Chickamauga used rectangular flags. The point is that the people hollering the loudest probably didn't know that. They don't know enough about our heritage to treat the flag with some respect and display it properly.

The Solution

The solution is to take the flag back, to reclaim its representation as a symbol of independence and individuality. We need to make the flag represent defiance and independence once again.

Pink and Lavender
Green, Gold and Red

These new color schemes will allow people who feel excluded by the original Battle Flag to claim it for themselves and represent them in their fight for freedom, independence, and individual rights.

Iris Badge


Paul Burns

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Skunk flag

Don't Tread on Me!