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Farewell “Stars & Bars”

06/24/2015

As a son of the South, the old South, I grew up with great pride in my Southern heritage.  While I was never proud of the racist part of that heritage, I did have great respect for my ancestors who fought and for the mothers who donated their sons to bleed and die.

To understand the sentiment that I feel, here is a poem written by Alfred Lord Tennyson about a battle in the now-Russian Crimea called the “Charge of the Light Brigade.”  Different war, same sentiment!

Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d ?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d & thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack & Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke,
Shatter’d & sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse & hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,

It was a different war in a different time in a distant place, but there was valor in dying for what they believed.  That profound respect doesn’t change.  I have that respect for the soldiers who died in Crimea and in the Confederacy and everywhere else.

Unfortunately the tangible symbol of that pride later became the “Confederate flag”, which has now been expropriated, confiscated, smeared, slimed, and desecrated by modern racists.  Like we lost that war, we have now lost our flag, the old “Stars & Bars.”  So, we must now let it go.  Without that flag, we will still have our respect for those soldiers who fought and for the mothers who donated their sons to bleed and die.  That never changes!

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