This photo is said to be from the 2011 Reunion, South Carolina Division, SCV. Now, I understand that there is some historical precedent for writing on a Confederate flag, and I am certain that this was done from a lack of knowledge and not from malice. That being said, we should know better than to treat our flag this way – but we don’t because we have not been taught.
The Confederate flag is not just a piece of cloth that one would write on to commemorate something. That is just a short step away from graffiti. The Confederate flag is not a cheap table cloth that one would set a Styrofoam coffee cup on.
When I say that this was done not with malice, but from a lack of knowledge, we really have only ourselves to blame. Without a set of rules and guidelines, we cannot expect people to know what is and is not acceptable use of the Confederate flag. There no widely-accepted code of etiquette for the Confederate flag as there is for the united States flag. The key phrase here is “widely-accepted”. There IS such a code, but it is largely unknown.
The Code of Confederate Flag Etiquette was a project of the Confederate Colonel forum in 2008. Confederate Colonel has since changed from a web forum to the current blog format, but at that time, we had a large pool of dedicated Southrons who took this on as a group project. I started by writing the basic document based on several existing flag codes. That was published on the forum, and members added their comments; we finally ended up with something we felt would give our flag the respect it deserves. It has been amended based on suggestions from reenactors, and I am confident that it will continue to be updated as we learn more.
We started with the basic idea that the Confederate flag is not merely an historical relic, but the flag of a nation. Not a nation that used to exist over a century ago and was defeated, but a real nation that, while defeated militarily, never formally surrendered or dissolved as a governmental or (more importantly) a social entity. Some may argue against that point, and we acknowledge that there are reasonable arguments against it; however, we decided that given the choice, we would err on the side of respect for a people and the flag that represents them. The Confederate flag still represents the Southern People.
In the previous post, A Southern Nation, I presented the case that The South is a nation. As such, the symbols of that nation are due the same level of respect as the symbols of any other nation. With that as a basic premise, we began with the regulations concerning the flag of the united States of America. Part of that basic premise includes the idea that the Confederate flag is of equal stature with the flags of other nations when displayed within the borders of the united States. When displayed at the same time and place as the united States flag, the Confederate flag should be treated in the same manner as the flag of other nations such as England or Canada or Australia. I will point out that, in the interest of not causing undue controversy, I never display both at the same time. That is my own personal decision though.
The Code of Confederate Flag Etiquette is a resource that I hope will be used to prevent the unintentional dishonoring of the flag of the Southern people – the flag that our ancestors fought and died under, and the flag that the Southern people live under. It deserves to be treated with respect.