My Turn, Evelyn Uddin-khan: Now, which flag did my sons defend?
Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 19, 2023
By Evelyn Uddin-khan
Let me say here and now, that this is not about which flag you fly. That is your right and your privilege. We are all taxpayers living in a free country!
On the other hand, my three sons and other male members of my family (brothers, nephews, cousins) wore the uniforms of the United States Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force around the world and defended the 50 states of America. They defended the United States flag, National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance and every state and person present on American soil.
As a transplant from the North, life in the South was culture shock for my husband and I.
I must confess ignorance to the meaning and history of the Confederate flag. I have now corrected my ignorance and can claim a decent knowledge of what the Confederate flag means to the people of the South.
I am not about to support or condemn the free (and not so free) people of the South of the United States of America for their views on history, what they should believe in and how they must act.
If some people in the South want to display their Confederate flag, they are free to do so, but why not in their yards or home? As a citizen of a united country, I can understand the flag of the United States (50 stars, 13 stripes, red, white and blue) flying everywhere, in every nook and cranny where there is space, with state flags next to it. College and university campuses also have their flags blowing in the wind.
At the present time, when our country is so divided by politics, race and religion, do we need, can we afford another division based on which flag we fly in public domain?
The Civil War ended 159 years ago. We are now one country with one flag. It’s time to move on!
We are a young country that has set so many exemplary examples that countries around the world have emulated and who are envious of our country. Why not keep it that way?
But flying your Confederate flag on your property is not what bothers me. What I question is this: My three sons wore the military uniforms of the United States Navy, Marines and Air Force. They defended America. Not North. Not South. But America. They proudly defended the American flag and carried the Pledge of Allegiance in their hearts.
One son was in the sands of Iraq for four years. One was in the mountains of Afghanistan for five plus years. One nephew came back with PTSD — a raving lunatic about how many …. There is more!
These young men fought for a country they believed in, a flag that is still standing.
The people who believe in, and raise the Confederate flag, which flag would you defend if our mortal enemies — China or Russia — cross the Pacific and take possession of California or Alaska?
I understand fully that the ancestors of the people of the South (thousands of them) lost their lives for what they believed in. However, sometimes, perhaps most times, our ancestors were right in their thoughts and actions in their present circumstances, in their moment in time.
Are they right today? And 160 years from now, into the future, we are going to be the ancestors of a much more diverse, culturally integrated, lots of skin colors and not so religious descendants that America has seen so far.
Should we worry about that distant America? I think not! What I worry about now is the history we are leaving. Do I want my descendants in 2176 to learn that in 2023 I was part of a racist, bigoted, intolerant society that didn’t like other people because of their skin color, or their religion, or simply that I hated some of God’s creation.
The past is a great teacher. It just might be time for us to take a logical look at the past 250 years.
To my new neighbors in the South, fly your Confederate flag on your property, on your ancestors’ tombstones and kindly remember that my sons also fought for the freedom we enjoy today and for the American flag.
Evelyn Uddin-khan moved to Salisbury in 2018 after living in the New York City area for most of her life. She taught in public schools and for a community college in the New York City area.