There were Colored Troops in the Civil War. Even if someone had never read any reports, books, or interviews on them, seeing the movie Glory (even if it's the Hollyweird version) would give you goose bumps. What we don't hear often is the story of the Buffalo Soldiers. Some of them were former slaves and some were with the Union troops in some capacity. They were given the assignment out west because the 'powers that be' knew using them in any capacity in the South would not be a wise move.
Now, there's a reenactor I've seen on, I think the travel channel, who does the full dress uniform and talks to tourist at some place out west about the history of those Soldiers. That's all fine and good. He does a good job. Those men went on from pretty much nothing to having a real job, with pay, and a mission to carry out. In the explanation of their history, he glosses over what they did to the Native Americans. He sort of failed to mention most of that. I refused to buy a statue of one years ago, and it was a well done piece, and the sales clerk asked why I said I wouldn't have it in my home since I have other pieces by that artist. I just told her I was part American Indian and it would be an insult to their memory to place that in my home. It took a little more explaining, but she did get the message. She did not know there was anything that may be offensive. Another chapter of American History edited from the textbooks I guess.
We know there are those who find some of our most treasured symbols in contempt. I guess all I need to say is, they need to get over it because those symbols are not going away. We have earned the right to reclaim our history and to show it in a light that does not reflect the negative use of our symbols. If people would just shut up and listen, some might really 'get it'. There's two sides to every story and the truth probably lies somewhere in between. We need to allow that in between area to exist. That's where the understanding comes from and maybe for a few, some healing too. That's what the big missing link is. Hearing the 'other' version told by those without the hate filled garbage who showed such disrespect to the 'symbol' that means so very much to most of us. We do not want to substitute that precious symbol for another. We can't. Nothing else will ever take the place of the one flag that has been our ancestors identity and their legacy. They've ignored the fact and photos when the US Flag that was also used with disrespect. They have made note of the Nazi flag that was used. We do not wish to claim that. It does not belong to us in any way, shape, fashion or form. That Battle Flag, the one the bigots and those who do not wish to carry on an open, civil, discussion on its importance try to suppress any talk on it every chance they get is not going away. Not by a long shot. We have reclaimed it because it is part of us.
We've had other historical facts crammed down our throats. We've had events that took place in the South rerun over and over again. It's time for some of those who would damn us to take a seat, open their minds and ears and just listen for once without trying to shout down a speaker who is trying to explain it isn't about hate. It is about honor, committment, sacrifice and loss. No one has to salute it. No one has to look at it. No one has to honor it but they need to get off of the soapbox and get over it. We are not going to let it go in silence. Not now, not ever. There should be room for all cultures to celebrate their heritage. That includes those of Southern descent. A terrible price has been paid for a very long time just because our ancestors dared to think they could do something that to them was legal at that time. They were sons, grandsons, nephews, cousins of those who fought so hard to form the United States and defended it in the War of 1812. They did what they believed was their legal right to withdraw from the Union of States because they believed it would be more to their advantage to do so. They believed they had a better idea of what was right for their state and they fought so very hard for that belief. How can we not do everything we can to be certain they are remembered with honor, and their symbol treated with respect? Residents of the South are digging up relics on a regular basis be it a bullet or a cannon in our back yards. We have those constant reminders that we the South, were the fields of battle and we share in ownership and good stewardship the true character of those whose blood we carry in our veins.