crful and inclusive vision of the Ameriean past (in She Wore arnYellow Ribbon and ‘i’he Horse Soldiers and elsewhere), but hernwas far from alone. The North/South conflict is played out inrnmany a Western. In George Stevens’s Shane, for example, thernblowhard Southerner “Stonewall” Torrcv is done in by thernhired killer, Wilson. When the eponymous hero wants a settlement,rnhe calls Wilson the worst thing he can think of: a lowdownrnlying Yankee. After such words, one of them must die.rnAs far back as we can conceive of our country (and even forrnYankees like Herman Melville, Henry James, and HenryrnAdams, as C. Vanu Woodward reminded us), the Southernerrnhas been a necessary part of the American imagination.rnNow between you, me, and the newel post, I’d hate to bringrnup the point that the Confederate battle flag was just that: thernbanner of an army, and not the only one. (A vexillary excursusrnwould assert that the cross of St. Andrew, the heraldic ordinarilyrnknown as a saltirc, has been or is found on the flags of Ireland,rnScotland, Great Britain, Spain, Jersey, Biscay, SouthrnAfrica, Russia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi.)rnThe flag is not to be confused with “the Bonnie Blue Flag” orrn”the Stars and Bars”—flags of the nation. And if that’s too demanding,rnthen you didn’t hear it from mc. Yet for that reasonrnand others, the recent flap about the Georgia state flag wasrnquite absurd: the revisionists unknowingly wanted to changernthe part of the flag that repeated the motif of the battle flagrnwith a pre-1956 version alluding to the Stars and Bars! Thernpeople of that state, ignoring the posturing of their governor,rnpreferred to let things be. There have been, of course, similarrncontroversies about Civil War memorials and flags, in attemptsrnto rewrite or efface history in the name of some heightenedrnconsciousness or other.rnBut just as even in our country it is not absolutely necessar’rnto choose our national leaders because of manifest lack of appropriaterncharacter, neither is it even in a postindustrial massrndemocracy necessarily impossible to make distinctions or maintainrninformed awareness—Gettysburg suggests that much.rnSimilarly, the series Civil War ]ournal that runs on the Arts andrnEntertainment cable channel has in one recent episode devotedrnto “Banners of Glory” shown just how well a contemporaryrnmedium can serve the public interest and even present inrncontext the Forbidden Image for which so many died. Even onrntelevision, 1861-65 is not to be confused with its own centennial,rnduring which cheap copies of the Confederate battle flagrnwere waved by unlettered and angrv’ people resisting the civilrnrights moN’cment and the federal enforcement of unwelcomernlaws.rnThe late Wrlker Percy, in his ‘I’he Last Gentleman, wroterndefinitively of the deja vu caused by the degrading replicationrnof the Civil War as a farce, not a tragedy. He also indicatedrnelsewhere that when the flag was furied at Appomattox, no flagrnhad ever been defended b’ better men—yet when the samernflag was picked up by unworthy people or reproduced as arntourist’s trinket, the icon had to be let go. He had much truthrnon his side—but his truth depended on his personal virtue andrnironic intelligence, his extensive knowledge of the South, hisrnaristocratic heritage, and his Christian conviction. I low manyrnAmericans or senators are now fortified by such a combination?rnEven repudiation must rest on a proper foundation. In anyrncase, Perev’s irony today might well suggest that much harm asrnwell as good has come from the civil rights movement and thatrna final demonstration of the probity and wisdom of thernfederal enforcement of anything was recently shown to thosernsinister Branch Davidian women and children. Attornc’ GeneralrnReno’s claim of “full responsibilit” was—perhaps bv somernbureaucratic oversight?—unaccompanied bv her resignation,rnbut then again life without honor must today be our constantrnstudy. Janet Reno, as notable a “role model” as she is an 7ttorncyrnGeneral, often came to mind during mv ‘iewing of Gettysburgrn(as did other members of the Clinton administration),rnbecause what life with honor was like in our country wasrndemonstrated not so much in that movie as in that battle byrnthe federal Colonel Chambedain of the 20th Maine and bv Bufordrnand Reynolds and Hancock, not to mention their Confederaterncounterparts.rnYet those Confederates and their flags were more than arnpresence in Gettysburg—they dominated the movie as thevrnfailed to dominate that field. Somehow the story is theirs—arnsalient part of American history is theirs. The movie, like thernbattle, challenges and stimulates our imagination, showingrnour country to have been more wonderful and terrible, beautifulrnand mysterious, tender and cruel, idealistic and violent,rnselfish and sacrificing than anyone can ever fully know, yetrnwhich not to know is not to know ourselves. Because Lee lostrnthe battle and Lincoln gave his address there, Gettysburg hasrnbeen a synecdoche for the Civil \4ir, and for the fate of the nation,rnsince the smoke cleared—but it remains a deeplv ambivalentrnsymbol. The movie implies the tantalizing mighthave-rnbeen that gives the battle its significance: if a mysteriousrndispensation had gone the other way . . . and why did it not?rnThe film captures the freely determined fatedness (Longstrcetrna Starbuck, Lcc an Ahab), the creation of a future that is nowrnour past. “The stars in their courses fought against Sisera”rn(Judges V: 20).rnEven the triumphalist view of that war, not to mention therntragic one, requires the Confederate presence. The South is arnnecessary part of the American story; a precipitating generatorrnof our politv, our national mvthology, our cuisine, our humor;rna disproportionate share of our finest literature—even as “ThernLost Cause.” Massachusetts and Minnesota need South Carolinarnand Mississippi; the North requires the South (as it doesrnthe West); the Union literally absorbed unto itself the Secessionrnby an epic violence as mental as it was physical. Who says “thernU.S.A.” says “the Revolution” and the Second Revolution,rn”the Civil War” (for our Rc’olution was a Ci’il War and ourrnCivil Wir was a Revolution). Who says “the Civil War” neecssarilvrnconjures its imagery and notables. Fhere can be nornGrant without a Lcc, no Sherman without a Johnston, nornLincoln without a Davis, no Custer or Sheridan without Stuartrnand Shelby, and no Gettysburg without Chanecllorsvillernand Fredericksburg. There can be no monuments at the courthousernsquares of towns in Ohio and Rhode Island withoutrnthose other northern-facing monuments in Georgia and Alabama.rnThere is no history without conflict, no honor withoutrnpain, no courage without fear, no victory without bloodshed,rnno contest without cruelty, no glory without sorrow, no ironyrnwithout consciousness, and no memor’ without substance.rnGettysburg and Civil War journal remind us that in spite ofrnpolitical grandstanding, commercialism, and public relations,rnthough a Confederate soldier was not a federal one, he was still,rnafter all, an American. I le was sometimes quite memorabK’ thernbest soldier in the history of our country, often the most pious,rnand usually the least destructive of pri’atc property. Thoughrnhis battle flags were mostly surrendered, they were images of fidelitvrnand independence and are not to be treated as images ofrn26/CHRONICLESrnrnrn