opprobrium or ns the moral equivalent of the swastika. Thatrnflag is no more to be shunned than is the old “Spirit of 76” flag,rnthe flag of the Republic of Texas, or my own favorite, the rattlesnakernwith the motto “Don’t Tread On Me.” Anyway, I certainlvrnhope that no senator of whatever race, gender, or orientationrnwill suggest that nowadays something more like a red flagrnwith perhaps a gold hammer and sickle or maybe even a lavenderrnflag with a purple charge card and a pink condom would berna more appropriate national banner than the one whose historyrnand resonance—because of pain and cognitive difficulty—wernarc presently arranging to forget. Or that the Daughters of thernAmerican Revolution, the Colonial Dames, the Order of thernCincinnati, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, or the Associationrnfor the Preservation of Civil Wir Sites might be singled outrnfor stoning.rnAs the Disney empire proceeds with its 3,000-acre historicalrntheme park six miles from Manassas, I’m sure that thernnation’s youth arc, like other Americans, keenly aware thatrnGeneral Joshua L,. Chambedain, who won a CongressionalrnMedal of I lonor at Gettysburg, was himself asked to receive onrnbehalf of Grant the formal surrender of the Army of NorthernrnVirginia on April 12, 1865. The Confederates stacked theirrnarms and folded their flags in tears—some of their decimatedrnregiments seemed composed of flags, not men. Chambedain,rnlater governor of Maine, president of Bowdoin College, and anrnaccomplished rhetorician, composed a set piece called ThernPassing of the Armies in which he paid iiandsomc tribute to thernmen whom he had fought for vears and bv whom he had beenrngravely wounded. The nation’s youth used to read and reciternthe piece, written by a Yankee gentleman of the old school. Hernnever scorned those men or their flags, but read the roll call ofrntheir units and their histor’ as they passed by, assuming that evcrvoncrnknew or should know the names of A.P. I Hll and JamesrnLongstreet and John Bell Ilood, as well as what they did. Thernmore glory that was accorded to the gallant defeated, then howrnmuch more to the victors!rnThe North won Gettysburg and the war, but somehow thernhistorv as living memory was let go along with the values thatrnmade it worth remembering. If Farnsworth’s Charge at Gcttvsburgrnhad been a Southern disaster, it would not have beenrnforgotten—it does not appear in the movie. Neither docs thernastounding mutual destruction of Pettigrcw’s 26th North Carolinarnand the 24th Michigan, at the climax of the first day onrnMePhcrson’s Ridge. The Yiinkecs lost over 80 percent of theirrnmen; the Secesh even more. One of Pettigrcw’s companies lostrn100 percent; another had two unhit out of 83. Pettigrcw’s adjutantrnfound the wounded howling in the woods and foamingrnat the mouth. Those were the kind of men who contested thernbattle of Gettysburg—on both sides. Today in Mogadishu,rnColonel Aidid does not seem to be worried that he will have torntangle with such determination. Is he wrong?rnIn Atlanta’s Oakland Ccmctcrv, there is (or was, if any demagoguesrnheard about it) an impressively painful memorial tornthe hard-luck Army of Tennessee in the form of a woundedrnlion, modeled on “the Lion of Lucerne,” which commemoratesrnthe Swiss Guard that died for the Bourbons of France. Such anrnacknowledgment, if no more, is still appropriate in Atlantarnand in Lucerne. When the French attempted to celebrate thernbicentennial of their Revolution, many in the Vendee and elsewherernbegged to differ, and for good reason. William Faulkner,rnwho entitled one of the stories that make up ‘ihe Unvanqiiishedrn”Vendee,” also let us know that the past is not dead. It’s notrneven past.rnThe startling images of Gettysburg reaffirm that assertion,rneven though the library of Congress recently withheld Birth ofrna Nation from an exhibition of great American films for the usualrnpained reasons. Such national folly says pediaps less aboutrnour country than it does about our leadership, but we canrnhardly hope to come to terms with our history if we cannot bearrnto behold even the history of our movies.rnThe United Daughters of the Confederacy will doubtlessrncontinue their service toward sustaining the memory of couragernand devotion, in spite of the insult directed at them. ThernSouth, or what’s left of it, may continue to cultivate the ritualsrnof memory. But one larger question is whether, in the nationalrnmythology, the South will be accorded the place it receivesrnin history and in Gettysburg, or whether it will instead be confinedrnto the role of scapegoat—and recyclable comic relief, asrnin the latest version of Ihe Beverly llillbiUies. Jed and Jcthro canrnsure help you forget a lot of things in a hurry, but somehowrnthey just don’t have the style of Lee and Longstreet and the potentrnyeomanry that the Yankees weren’t so afraid of—then. It’srnreassuring to believe that all Southerners arc as coarse andrnstupid as Senator Ileflin appears to be, rather than to wonderrnwhy a man of Lee’s stature and rectitude would… . But goodrnheavens, we hardly have time for such disturbing thoughtsrnwhile we are busv insisting that the Constitution guarantees sornmany things it unaccountably doesn’t state and that so manyrnthings it does say are unconstitutional.rnThe larger question is whether our nation can have an honestrnaccount of its past, and retain it. I lenry Steele Commagerrnentitled his indispensable two-volume anthology The Blue andrnthe Gray, not ‘Ihe Blue and the Unmentionable. Refusing thernchance to trivialize his own life, Booker T. Washington did notrnentitle his famous autobiography Up From a Painful Condition.rnYet today there is pressure to change the names of schools andrnother institutions that have been called after those vile Southernrnslaveholders—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, andrnJames Madison—as though we were learning to will therndestruction of the national memory rather than its maintenancernand to exclude the Southern roots of our freedom fromrnacknowledgment rather than to honor them. Ignorance ofrnhistory and terror of truth do not preserve liberty or nationalrncoherence any more than they represent sound education orrnpublic policy. After all, if we need Sojourner Truth andrnFrederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony in the nationalrnpantheon (and we do), there must also be room in thernmulticultural amplitude for Lee and Longstreet—and their flagrnas well.rnThe kind of future we are liable to get without much sensernof a past is rapidly coalescing. It will be determined by the collegernsophomores and juniors I have encountered who havernnever heard of John Brown, of his raid on Harpers Ferry, or ofrnthe song about his body moldering in the grave. Since neitherrnthe government nor the educational establishment seems interestedrnin promoting awareness of American history withoutrnanachronism, private interests and contemporary technology ofrnthe kind that produced Gettysburg may restore to those quaintrnpeople who identify with this country and speak English whatrnformedy was considered to be their heritage—a vision of theirrnpast heroic enough to be memorable, outrageous enough to bernglorious, conflicted enough to be tragic, and particular enoughrnto be theirs. -crnMAY 1994/27rnrnrn