Rebel flag isn't flying for official reasons

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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kennedy In Dublin, Texas, they're proud of hometown golfer Ben Hogan and home-bottled pure-sugar colas.

One businessman also proudly waves his Confederate battle flag.

In a month falsely promoted by Rebel loyalists as an official history observance, Dublin Citizen newspaper Publisher Mac McKinnon is flying the flag of war at his office on U.S. 377.

McKinnon said he is flying it for a local heritage group's "Confederate Month."

In nearby Stephenville, Sons of Confederate Veterans camp commander Charles Leatherwood said he appreciates McKinnon's support and doesn't care whether anyone else says the "month" is official.

" We believe it is," he said.

Every April, the Civil War lives again across Dublin, Stephenville, Comanche and De Leon, home of some of the worst racial injustices in Texas history and also some of the fiercest Confederate sentiment.

In Comanche, the Confederate First National Flag -- the government flag with a blue field and red and white stripes, not the more incendiary battle flag -- actually flies all month over the courthouse.

"We let the Confederates put it up there," Comanche County Judge James R. Arthur said.

"The governor said to do that."

Actually, nobody but the Confederates said to do that.

The myth of a "history month" began in 1999, when a state senator from the Houston area passed a ceremonial resolution in the Texas Senate.

As the Senate does for birthdays or anniversaries, the resolution was passed without debate or vote as a polite gesture to the sponsor, then-Sen. Mike Jackson of La Porte. His spokesman said he observed it by flying the First National Flag, not the war flag.

Official celebrations require a vote of both houses. When Texas named pecan the "state pie" this year, it took debate and a vote.

We now have a pie.

There is no Confederate Month.

That doesn't stop the flag-wavers from Leatherwood's Sons camp, based in De Leon, one of the last cities in Texas and maybe America with a sign telling African-Americans not to "let the sun set on you."

"I know where you're going with this," he said by phone.

"You're not going to make this something racist."

I am not the one making anything up.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.


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