We "Rebs" Have To Stick Together!
February 17, 2006, 12:12 AM
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Before commenting on Bryanna Bevens` concerns about the never-ending attempts to demonize the Confederate flag, I must correct her casualty figures for the Civil War. The accepted estimates, like those recorded by LSU`s Civil War Center, range between 600,000 and 700,000 deaths, or, according to one historian, about one-fourth of the nation`s youth at that time.

And I think it important that we all care about "why" the Civil War took place, if for no other reason than to honor the dead on both sides. (For those who favor the "economics" argument, a good read is Eric Foner`s "Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men": The Republican Party before the Civil War."

But Bryanna is right on when she says the Confederate flag is part of this nation`s history and should be seen in that light rather than a symbol that "offends" blacks and others who favor purging from our society all that which makes them uncomfortable.

A story that goes one better than hers about the black store owners in Tennessee who sold Confederate flags is the one about the late Ernest Griffin, a black American who owned a funeral home on Chicago`s South Side.

Griffin upset some blacks in 1990 when he decided to fly both the American and Confederate flags next to his business. [Vdare.com note: Jonathan Tilove reports that the flag was still raised to half staff every morning in 2002. The Griffin Funeral Home is on King Drive in Chicago.]He did this out of respect ("They were Americans") because a part of his property rested on a portion of once was Camp Douglas, where several thousand Confederate POWs died from rampant disease and deplorable living conditions. Many of these men are buried in nearby Oak Woods Cemetery.

Like Bryanna, I also know what it feels to be looked at like I have three eyes because I say or do the "unpopular." One Christmas I received this "Rebel Yell" neck tie from a family member and later wore it to the newspaper office in which I worked at that time.

The editor, who oozed political correctness but whose editorial skills on her best day might qualify her to handle a paper route, said with a rather contemptuous look on her face, "Mr. Gorak, do you harbor Confederate sympathies?" (This woman - to properly explain - disliked me primarily because (a) I knew incompetence when I saw it and (b) I openly despised multiculturalism, also asked me the morning after the U.S. bombed Libya whether the bombing had put me "in a good mood." When I said straight-faced that, no, because Moammar Khadfy was still breathing, she walked into her office wearing her trademark scowl.)

Thanks for your column, Bryanna. To steal a few words from the Confederate "cover" (envelope) in my meager Civil War collection, "The (Stars and) Bars are up, and we are in the field!" (P.S. OK, OK, I haven`t been completely honest. I have another "Reb" neck tie that, according its manufacturer, was called the "Heritage of Honor" and is a "replica of the tie made originally in the United Kingdom for the British who supported the South." And I bought it - Shhhhhhhhhh! - while visiting . . .this place, where I also picked up a small metal bust of this ”traitorous rat.”