Confederate fat Photo

Confederate soldier hats featuring the controversial flag are for sale at T&S Clothing and Gifts in downtown Gettysburg.

Over three days in August, Union and Confederate re-enactors will meet on the fields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and reignite a battle that ended more than 150 years ago, with bayonets in hand and flags waving overhead.

On that battlefield and in more than five downtown Gettysburg businesses, flags, including the Confederate battle flag, will continue to wave. Several Gettysburg business owners said Confederate flag sales have actually picked up in the past few months.

But in light of the deadly Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting, many have questioned the proper use of the symbol that has come to represent so many facets of the Confederate era — ranging from historical context to Southern heritage.

The Confederacy had several flags during its existence, the most recognizable being the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, said Jill Titus, associate director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.

That’s the square flag with the navy blue naval jack, white stars and red background, Titus said.

“Historically, it’s quite clear that the Confederate flag does represent the stated aims of the Confederate government, which were maintaining slavery and white supremacy,” Titus said. “Of course, the flag has been used in a variety of different ways since the end of the Civil War — it has been used by a lot of different groups to support a lot of different causes.”

Re-enactors, who will play out battles on fields adjacent to the historical grounds of the Gettysburg National Military Park, usually carry Confederate flags into battle each year. Still, some property owners of the fields will not, and have not, allowed the Confederate flag on their land in the past, said Andrea DiMartino, spokeswoman for the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee.

“The only impact that this [recent controversy] has had is the fear by the re-enactors that we might not allow them to fly their flags — that’s not true,” DiMartino said. “The Confederate flag was a symbol of their nation, and it is used in a clear, historical aspect only.”

Event organizers said the Confederate battle flag and associated flags will continue to be used in historical context in the battle re-enactments in August for the 152nd anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

However, the National Park Service’s bookstore at Gettysburg’s historic battleground will stop selling 11 of the 2,600 items featuring the flag.

“We strive to tell the complete story of America,” National Park Service director Jonathan Jarvis said in a news release.

“All sales items in parks are evaluated based on educational value and their connection to the park. Any stand-alone depictions of Confederate flags have no place in park stores,” the release stated.

Monocacy National Battlefield also followed the National Park Service recommendation and removed from its bookstore stand-alone items bearing the Confederate flag that hold no historical or educational context, park ranger Brett Spaulding said.

“In the museum, if there’s any sales items or DVDs and educational materials, we are keeping them,” Spaulding said of Confederate flag adorned items. “Any stand-alone items we’ve removed — like a Confederate flag on a pole, that’s a stand-alone item.”

Monocacy National Battlefield’s living history events and firing demonstrations will continue using the flag in historical context, Spaulding said.

“It’s still part of the history we have here and it is part of our history, but it needs more of an explanation for people to have some context,” Spaulding said.

(34) comments

cldeboin

Why not find the peace every human being inherently longs for rather
than celebrate the horrors of war ? Any war?

vicdavy

cldboin, Right On! I have been saying this for decades! Americans glorify War,when we should learn and not keep repeating the lessons of history. Remember the movie "War Games"? The computer solved the question. The only way to win in a war was not to play

quemzeee2

They lost, why would you want to wave that around LOL .. THEY LOST.
Why not like America. Why champion a bunch of losers whose only support was the French running people from Seria leon to the U.S for profits. ?

phydeaux994

It's the only war I can think of where the losing side celebrates being defeated. They even have a flag to commemorate their defeat. And they celebrate it as part of their heritage. I never have understood that. Different mindset in the South, I guess they still believe they won.

Glen Shiel

Thewheelone, while part of the movie was filmed off the actual battlefield, more than the scene of Pickett's Charge was filmed on it. The boulders in the Devil's Den are easily discernible, and the statue of General Gouverneur Warren on Little Round Top was covered with artificial foliage to hide it from the scenes that were filmed there. You must not have participated in those parts of the film or you would have known otherwise.

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phydeaux994

Bringin' your gun?

Glen Shiel

Certain people just need to get over this flag issue. Sure, there are jerks who use it as a sign of racism and hatred towards others, but it is still a symbol of the history of this country's development and that history cannot be rewritten. This flag will NEVER go away, so deal with it!

vicdavy

Glen,You mean like African Americans who are reminded everyday of American Racism?

Glen Shiel

My girlfriend works for one of the largest medical organizations in the country, based in Baltimore. She is one of two white women in an office that has no one else but black women. My girlfriend is one of the sweetest people that ever lived yet, everyday, she is subjected to racism by her black coworkers. SO DON'T WHINE TO ME ABOUT "African Americans who are reminded everyday of American Racism?" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "African Americans" are just as racist as anyone else!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

phydeaux994

For example?

vicdavy

When have white people been discriminated against? Examples, not being allowed to use a restroom or eat at a restaurant or go to school or university due to the color of their skin? Had to sit in the back of the bus,or not allowed to move into a neighborhood? Why did America have to go to war to rectify an injustice most developed countries had banned? Racism is in many people,but we are talking about Racial Discrimination, don't you get it ,Glen Shill? Anecdotes and don't count,history does!

FrederickVeteran

Your girlfriend should be comforted in being a victim of racial harassment that blacks with comparable education and experience of white earn less than 70 cents on the dollar to white workers in the same position.

Reader1954

people as usual just jumping on the bandwagon. Even nascar president France is suddenly finds the flag offensive, please, give me a break. Just take down the flag and like magic, racism disappear. Who knew it was that easy.

beechlover

I agree. Get rid of all war movies and books on war. Remove it all from our history books. Erase it all. Then we can disband all these social programs that help those who are "oppressed " and everyone can love one another since our history will then be "clean". That will most definitely fix the problem.

vicdavy

Learn from history! America loves Violence and suffers from bloodlust and gunlust. I have been in other countries and known people from all over the world and they don't understand the primitive nature of America. I worked with a Russian woman in the 80's and she said that Russian propaganda showed American movies and said,"See how violent Americans. They the watch violent movies as entertainment"

jwhamann

Well, because of all this stupid controversy I think the South should win the battle this year.

quemzeee2

If what is implied about loyalty and respect is true by the flag waivers of this item. Why then dont they all waive the flag that was BEFORE the war? hmmmm sounds like they may be simply low functioning persons who have no other palce to vent anger.

Besides, why wave a flag of a group that lost. hello.. they lost guys.

jwhamann

They lost? They signed a surrender paper,,,,just a piece of paper. A simple piece of paper. How does that say they lost?

Thewheelone

jwhamann, the fact that the states that seceded are now part of the United States says that they lost the war

Glen Shiel

Are you referring to the Stars and Bars?

teadoffinfrederickcounty

Shame on the National Park Service for allowing these events on NPS property.

They do it just for the MONEY!

teadoffinfrederickcounty

To clarify; NPS does it just for the money.

public-redux

Read paragraph seven. Reenactments do not take place on NPS property.

Glen Shiel

The movie "Gettysburg" was a reenactment and was filmed on the actual battlefield, which is NPS property.

public-redux

I forget. Who was the love interest in that reenactment?

Thewheelone

Most of the film "Gettysburg" was made on a farm south of the battlefield, although parts of it were filmed at the site of Picketts charge. I was an extra in the movie and never set foot on the actual battlefield.

teadoffinfrederickcounty

The entire re-enactment of the civil war battles is ridiculous.

When I was seven years old we use to "play" army in the vacant lot down the street; but then I grew up.

Now for adults to dress up in costumes to "make believe" they are fighting a battle is ridiculous and detracts from the memories of the brave souls who fought and/or died on those sacred battlefields. Re-en-actors dishonor real veterans to whom we owe everything.

Can you imagine if the Germans wanted to have a re-enactment at Normandy? It would be shut down in a nanosecond, as it should be!

public-redux

If you don't like civil war reenactments, don't have one.

jwhamann

Haven't you ever seen The Longest Day? Besides, Normandy is in France.

girlpolitic

Spoiler alert -- The longest day was a movie.

Yes Normandy is in France but the German's occupied it after the French folder like a house of cards.

Glen Shiel

He didn't say Normandy wasn't in France.

vicdavy

Civil War reenactments glorify war and he Confederate Flag is a symbol of RACISM and Treason. In Europe, where the Nazi Swastika is banned, use the Confederate Flag as a symbol of White Supremacy . Until America can be honest about our history we are doomed!

Glen Shiel

It seems to me that you are one who has a problem being honest about our history. History is written in stone. It cannot be changed, no matter how badly you, and others, would like it to be.

vicdavy

Glorifying War is pathetic! I know more about American History then you'll ever know and I have learned that America needs to face it's hypocrisy and stop glorifying Military power. America is # 1 in only one thing Military Power and Violence! Learn from it or go the way of all historical empires,Rome, Britain Spain, France and the Soviet Union.

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