While the Confederate flag is being yanked down everywhere, one town isn’t letting go of tradition.
The police in Gettysburg, South Dakota have proudly been boasting a patch of the Confederate flag and the United States paired together in what the city considers happy unity on their uniforms since 2009.
The patch hasn’t caused quite a stir in the town, but once Lynn Hart, a black resident of another town, learned of it he condemned the patch in a Facebook post earlier this month inciting controversy.
Due to rising tensions from the removal of the Confederate flag in South Carolina, the City Council addressed the issue, noting that the patch was a symbol of their heritage and pride and not meant to inspire racism.
“The City of Gettysburg's police patch has the Amercian Flag and the Confederate flag overlapping, which was meant to symbolize unification, and a cannon to represent the battle that the City of Gettysburg is named after. This patch has no racist intentions; it is meant to be another way that we, as a city, represent our heritage. Without the war, and without the Battle of Gettysburg, we would not be the same City that we are.”
This defense is eerily relevant to those who cite history, heritage and culture as reasoning for keeping and honoring the flag, clearly ignoring the flag’s deep history of racial division and ties to slavery. The flag is the poster child for white supremacy, but Southern pride continues to ignorantly shake off that racist root instead claiming to glorify the flag as a mark of heritage.
While, thankfully, the South is gradually letting go of their attachment to the Confederate flag with the historic removal of the flag from the South Carolina Capitol in respect for the Charleston shooting victims, Gettysburg refuses to grapple with the evident realization that what they honor does not spell freedom for all, instead stands for America's long-fraught battle with discrimination.