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June 25, 2015

Erasing Signs of History

Harry M. Covert

There’s no way to avoid discussing the despicable events from South Carolina. It is the duty of all to consider the nine murders in a church massacre.

In general, without intention to sound trite, hatefulness abounds everywhere. Does anybody have solutions? Everybody has old saws to bring up as if the horror from a 21 year old just began recently.

Look around, and we are bombarded with mean, vicious crimes that continue no matter what philosophies, political, academic and personal are being spouted in all quarters.

Consider for a moment. Two escaped killers, as of this writing, are still on the loose in New York State. Not being flippant here, but this was an inside job. In Washington, DC, another inside job saw the atrocious murders of four people. Only one man, a known-bad boy not even a citizen, is so far jailed. From Baltimore, murders, robberies and other atrocious crimes flourish. Another New York street crime occurred this week when a man with a rap sheet of 20 crimes, used a machete to hack an innocent woman walking down the street in broad daylight.

The list can go on; but these are merely from a few days past. The national discussion has featured the “Stars and Bars,” otherwise known as the Confederate Battle Flag. It is worth considering, quite naturally, but the issue isn’t a pennant from history. The issue is why have hearts of men and women continued to harden?

No sermon here, but in a nation there’s been a growing flippancy to religious values. There has been a cuteness of denying spiritual values, making fun of people of faith and growing attempts to destroy people and debauch words of faith in the public arena.

It is difficult to envisage a Bible-study interrupted by a gun-toting outsider. I’ve attended services interrupted by drunken intruders, yelling and screaming. He didn’t last long.

I’ve been in services where unpopular public figures were present and longtime members asked “should that old hussy be allowed here?” True story and sad, improper.

Shameful acts seem to lead to immediate changes in rollercoaster fashion.

Days of the Confederate States of America battle flag on public display are numbered. At the same time of this debate, another deliberation is underway in a Virginia federal court regarding the name and insignia of the Washington Redskins.

Other changes are coming down the pike. Believe me, these are not laughing matters. History is one thing, but the present is what counts.

It is wishful that removing historical flags, monuments, street names, sports teams and all sorts of other symbols will make people – of all races, ethnicities, religious thoughts and everything else – nice, sweet and good men and women, boys and girls.

It is an even better thought that erasing the signs opposed by a few – or the many – will lead to no more crime, no more need for law enforcement, secret agents, jails, prisons and Supermax for the most heinous, no lawyers, courts, no military.

Utopia does not and will not exist. Nice goal to seek, but such hopes and thoughts are impractical, non-existent.

My late Aunt Tena taught me early in Sunday School. She led us to memorize “be ye kind one to another.” I was five, no kidding.

How about this one: “Train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This is the job of parents, grandmothers and grandfathers, babies’ mamas.

The Charleston tragedy is a colossal example for all. The victims were living their faith. Their families and loved ones certainly exhibited their convictions. Imagine telling their murderer they forgive him?

A national discussion should be more than a flag. It is more than just the encomium “God Bless, America.”

While weeping continues for the State of the Union, let’s not forget: “Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Everyone should take time to learn the difference between amnesia and dementia.


[Editor’s Note: There has been a lot of conversation in recent days about the Confederate Flag flying over the capitol dome in South Carolina. Well, that particular flag IS NOT the flag of the Confederate States of America. It IS the Battle Flag used in military engagements during the Civil War. Three Frederick County men received recognition for bravery in battle for capturing “the battle flag” of the Confederate force with which they were engaged.

Below is a link that will show you the actual Flag of the Confederate States of America. Perhaps it should replace the one that has been referred to as the Confederate Flag over the capitol dome, on license tags and other venues. The Confederate States withdrew from the Union, fought bravely in battle, and rejoined the Union after the surrender by R. E. Lee. Our nation is stronger today because of that conflict, even though the scars remain in some places even today.

Just some thoughts from a native Virginian who loves history and hopes that his memory is serving him well today.]

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