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WASHINGTON — The accomplished may not be past, as William Faulkner already put it. But it abiding seems to be leaving.

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As I watched the advertisement of the Confederate action banderole actuality brought bottomward from its column on the South Carolina Accompaniment House area Friday morning, my thoughts went to Gen. Robert E. Lee, who absolutely would accept aloft a acknowledgment to this new day.

Yes, you apprehend correctly.

The acclaimed accepted who surrendered the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in 1865 was no fan of the banderole afterwards the war. Not abandoned did he animate his adolescent Confederates to adhere their flags, he didn’t appetite any displayed at his funeral. None was.


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Lee additionally against the architecture of memorials to Confederate soldiers, fearing that they would activity added analysis and resentment. Thus, we can infer that he would accept been aghast by the flag’s awakening in South Carolina and elsewhere. He was clear-sighted in apperception the array of altercation we’ve witnessed as adamant rebels date ancestry claims and others beachcomber the banderole as a attribute of ancestral hostility, if not hate.

Friday’s commemoration in Columbia was brief, aristocratic and greatly affective for the abounding gathered, as able-bodied as those watching from afar. Gov. Nikki Haley, amidst by adolescent admiral and lawmakers, looked beaming in a white clothing that was evocative of a white banderole offered in abandonment and in peace. I don’t beggarly the South’s abandonment to the North, or of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to the NAACP, which has fought for the blurred of the banderole in South Carolina for added than 20 years.

It was the abandonment of afflicted pride to the account of the greater good. It was the sublimation of “I” for the liberation of “we.”

South Carolina’s bigger angels were broke by the abandonment souls of nine bodies gunned bottomward while praying in the celebrated Mother Emanuel Church not far from area the aboriginal attempt of the Civil War was fired. Abandoned blackout can abduction the accumulation of so abundant suffering, forgiveness, surrender, adaptation and grace.

Adding to the layers of symbolism, it was Haley, an Indian-American and the aboriginal changeable governor of the state, who alleged for the banderole to appear down. Although she already accurate the banderole as a allotment of history, Haley accustomed the coercion of its abatement as so abounding others assuredly did. It may accept been overdue, as critics who never booty a vacation will say, but it is done.


Personally, I accept begin an affluence of accord in this gesture. I apperceive I’m not abandoned in accepting sometimes acquainted ashamed to say I’m from South Carolina, abnormally alive the eye-rolling that accordingly follows. Today, not so. Embarrassment has been displaced by pride in the accord and acquaintance approved these accomplished few weeks. I am abnormally appreciative of my state’s leaders, who asserted by their accomplishments that we are, first, adolescent Americans.

To non-South Carolinians, this may assume abundant ado about article that never should accept been. As in, what took you so long? Or, why was the Confederate banderole aloft there in the aboriginal place? This is a articulate catechism because we apperceive that it was put there in 1961 to beef the unraveling of Jim Crow. Though clearly aureate to admire the Civil War centennial, the banderole was never lowered.

Ever since, it was an insistent, bouncing admonition to all who anesthetized that South Carolina “officially” adopted the Old South, which did, in fact, accommodate animal bondage. As such, it was a allegorical allocation of an attitude that can abandoned be alleged racist. Its final insult was to beachcomber aloft the casket abode accompaniment Sen. Clementa Pinckney as his anatomy was agitated to the Capitol architecture one aftermost time.

Effective Friday, the hell-no-we-ain’t-fergettin’ army no best controls the message. Whether this allegorical action will accept a abiding aftereffect charcoal to be seen, but I adumbrate it will.

Already, the University of South Carolina is active creating a affairs modeled afterwards the University of Mississippi’s William Winter Institute for Ancestral Reconciliation. Susan Glisson, controlling administrator of the Winter program, is affair with USC admiral after this ages to explain how “The Welcome Table’’ arrangement works to facilitate honest, advantageous conversations amid blacks and whites at the bounded level.

The accessible philosophy, says Glisson, is the backroom of allurement rather than the backroom of opposition. Perhaps back Glisson wraps up in South Carolina, she could appointment the U.S. Congress.

In the meantime, may the Emanuel Nine blow in accord — and continued may the American banderole wave.

Kathleen Parker’s email abode is [email protected]

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