On May 31, 2021 (Memorial Day), two new statues were unveiled in my hometown of Malden, Massachusetts. The statues, located in Forest Dale Cemetery, represent the veterans of the Korean War and Vietnam War, specifically the soldiers from Malden who lost their lives in these two wars. The ceremony included a concert by the Quantico Marine Corps Band and speeches by Mayor Gary Christenson, various city officials, and Retired U.S. Navy Captain Earl Kishida, a veteran of the Vietnam War. Descendants and relatives of the soldiers physically removed the red and blue coverings, revealing the bronze statues underneath.
Given all of the horrific happenings in the world, it was cool to see new statues come into existence. Below are some photos from the ceremony:
At a Memorial Day ceremony in Natick, Massachusetts, one brave member of the public decided to hold up a Confederate flag. Presumably, he was motivated by an entirely understandable and noble desire to honor the Confederate soldiers who lost their lives fighting for independence, and perhaps also an equally understandable and noble desire to make a statement against our society’s vicious, full-scale assault on everything related to the Confederacy. Infuriatingly but unsurprisingly given said vicious assault, a frenzy of intolerant, hurtful, and idiotic comments ensued.
For example: State Senator Becca Rausch and Natick Select Board chair Karen Adelman-Foster made the following statement:
This statement is deeply wrong for numerous reasons:
I don’t understand how someone could be shocked, dismayed, or horrified by the fact that a person held up a Confederate flag. A Confederate flag is a beautiful thing, and it is heartening, wonderful, and awesome that someone in Massachusetts had the thoughtfulness and courage to honor the brave Confederate veterans who died fighting for freedom. It is Rausch’s and Adelman-Foster’s statement that is truly shocking, dismaying, and horrifying.
Displaying a Confederate flag does not “desecrate” anything. This is an utterly preposterous statement, and also a completely hypocritical one given that (as far as I know) neither Rausch nor Adelman-Foster has ever condemned any of the hundreds of brutal and heartless acts of actual desecration that have been committed against statues and monuments over the past year. Displaying a Confederate flag honors the Confederate veterans who gave their lives fighting for freedom, which is exactly what Memorial Day is supposed to be about. Plus, the cause for which they fought – the right to form an independent country – is actually more honorable than the cause of the Union soldiers who are commemorated by the Grand Army monument in Natick. If anyone is desecrating something in this situation, it is Rausch and Adelman-Foster for using Memorial Day as an excuse to cruelly and mindlessly attack an unpopular minority.
Displaying a Confederate flag certainly does not desecrate the memory of people who have fallen in defense of equality and freedom, as the Confederate soldiers were the people who were actually fighting for equality and freedom. It is Rausch and Adelman-Foster who are desecrating the memory of people who have fallen in defense of equality and freedom, because they are using Memorial Day as an excuse to attack these exact values.
People who display and support the Confederate flag are the people who are actually fighting for diversity and inclusion.
I don’t understand how someone could be hurt or harmed by the fact that a person held up a Confederate flag. In addition to being beautiful, the Confederate flag stands for equality, freedom, diversity, and inclusion. Anyone who is hurt or harmed by the display of this flag is a bully, an authoritarian, and a bigot.
There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to condemn the display of a Confederate flag, for the reasons mentioned above. Anyone who condemns the Confederate flag is a bully, an authoritarian, and a bigot.
Rausch and Adelman-Foster obviously do not have a steadfast commitment, or any commitment for that matter, to justice, equity, or freedom. In fact, their bigoted and intolerant statement demonstrates that they are actively advocating against these ideas.
In conclusion, it is difficult to imagine a public statement more hypocritical or illogical than the one put forth by Rausch and Adelman-Foster. They are literally condemning a flag that stands for freedom at the same time as they claim to be steadfastly committed to freedom. They are condemning an unpopular minority’s flag at the same time as they claim to support the ideas of diversity and inclusion. And they are claiming that the display of a flag that stands for freedom desecrates the memory of people who have fallen in defense of freedom.
It is this statement, as well as the intolerant, mean-spirited attitudes that motivate it, that is truly hurtful and harmful, and it is this statement that deserves to be condemned. Instead of apologizing for the fact that a Confederate flag was displayed, Rausch and Adelman-Foster should apologize to the brave Confederate veterans whom they insulted, as well as to all the people who have been hurt and harmed by their heartless, mindless, and thoughtless words.