Thursday, June 25, 2015

National Park Service Bans Confederate Flag Sales

So here is an interesting development.

National Parks Pull Confederate Flag Sales Items                                                                                                             
WASHINGTON – Confederate Battle Flag sales items are being removed from national park bookstores and gift shops.
“We strive to tell the complete story of America,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. J arvis said of the agency’s reputation for telling difficult parts of our history. “All sales items in parks are evaluated based on educational value and their connection to the park. Any stand-alone depictions of Confederate flags have no place in park stores.”

Jarvis said the murders of nine church members at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which is near Fort Sumter National Monument, galvanized a national discussion that includes symbols and relics from our nation’s past such as the Confederate Battle Flag.

“As that discussion spread across the country,” Jarvis said, “one of our largest cooperating associations, Eastern National, began to voluntarily remove from the park stores that it manages any items that depict a Confederate flag as its primary feature.  I’ve asked other cooperating associations, partners and concession providers to withdraw from sale items that solely depict a Confederate flag.”

In the telling of the historical story, Confederate flags have a place in books, exhibits, reenactments, and interpretive programs. Books, DVDs, and other educational and interpretive media where the Confederate flag image is depicted in its historical context may remain as sales items as long as the image cannot be physically detached.  Confederate flags include the Stainless Banner, the Third National Confederate Flag, and the Confederate Battle Flag. 

Jarvis said, “All superintendents and program managers will personally evaluate which sales items fit this description, have educational value, and are appropriate for the site.”

I remember when I was a kid wondering why Robert E Lee was considered a national hero, since at the time I had a more or less good guys/bad guys notion of any war.  The various narratives of the Civil War all have support for them.  Since the 1960s we have had a kind of apartheid with the universities pretty much taken over by neo-abolitionists, but popular culture still remaining Lost Cause/tragic brothers war.  The movies Glory and Lincoln helped change that.  

I think that this ban the Confederate flag craze is misguided, but we will see how it goes.

Peter J Reilly CPA is a descendent of a Union Veteran, whose regiment, the 22nd New Jersey, was sometimes referred to as the Copperhead Regiment.

Preparing for stacking of arms ceremony at Appomattox

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