We celebrate Independence Day this weekend, the day we commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, marking our fight for freedom from British rule. The early leaders of the colonies understood that they needed to band together to fight the common foe. We had a clear enemy then, and they were far from our shores.
During the Revolutionary War, America fought under many flags including the Grand Union. But it wasn’t until the Second Continental Congress that America passed the first Flag Act, resolving, “that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” The new union needed a new symbol, a unifying symbol that represented a new national identity. Eventually, the flag became an emblem of unity, of loyalty to country, and of the sacred ideals of the new nation.
And as our nation continues to struggle with racial division and hate in the wake of the Charleston church shootings (several southern churches have mysteriously been set aflame since the massacre) a true show of patriotism this Independence Day would be for South Carolina and other southern states who have adopted a different emblem as their unifying symbol to retire the Confederate flag. It has become not a symbol of courage and valor, but one of divisiveness and hate. So much so, that just days before the nation celebrates i t s independence, a White supremacy group has planned a rally this month in response to the calls to remove the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s statehouse grounds furthering their campaign of hate and racial division. It is definitely time for a change.