Over Memorial Weekend, 163 American flags were snatched from Confederate graves at the Shiloh National Military Park.
The unknown flag-thief left a “handwritten note” explaining his or her belief that “American flags should not be flying over graves of Confederate soldiers.”
According to CNN, park superintendent Dave Wilkerson said “staff discovered the flags were missing on that Saturday and replaced them in time for official ceremonies on Memorial Day (May 30).” The flags anonymously returned the day after Memorial Day. The park’s “custodial staff … found a bag with all 163 flags [inside].”
Wilkerson responded to the snatched flags by explaining that American flags are placed on Confederate graves “as a sign of respect, not disrespect.”
On June 6 Shiloh National Military Park posted a statement to Facebook, which read in part:
During the Memorial Day weekend at Shiloh a number of American flags were removed by unknown persons from Confederate graves on the Shiloh Battlefield. These people may have simply been mindless vandals or may not have understood the fact that over the past 150 years Confederates have come to be considered American soldiers.
Although feelings of animosity were still strong between north and south after the Civil War, these feelings began to fade as veterans aged and met together at reunions and cooperated in the creation of National Military Parks. Participation of former Confederates in the Spanish American War as U.S. soldiers led President William McKinley to say: “ …every soldier’s grave made during our unfortunate civil war is a tribute to American valor… And the time has now come… when in the spirit of fraternity we should share in the care of the graves of the Confederate soldiers…The cordial feeling now happily existing between the North and South prompts this gracious act and if it needed further justification it is found in the gallant loyalty to the Union and the flag so conspicuously shown in the year just passed by the sons and grandsons of those heroic dead.”
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.