That Flag


One might also argue that if South Carolina is really not satisfied with the Stars and Stripes or with its own beautiful blue palmetto flag, so redolent of the Revolution, it should perhaps design a new flag, one that would honor the rest—and the proudest part—of the South’s heritage. That is to say, a flag that would honor all those Southerners, black and white, who took part in another war, a different kind of war, one with blessedly fewer casualties but one that nonetheless brought a greater triumph, the rarest kind of triumph, which is to say, a victory over the crimes and hatreds of the past. That flag need be only the simplest of ensigns, carrying upon it—and thereby affirming—the words of the Reverend King from the depths of Birmingham Jail: “One day the South will recognize its real heroes.… One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters they were in reality standing up for the best in the American dream and the most sacred values in our Judeo-Christian heritage, and thus carrying our whole nation back to great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.”