Phillips responds to Loeschen’s letter
- After reading Mr. Loeschen’s letter to the editor, I find myself inclined to write in response. While I may not agree with many of Mr. Loeschen’s statements, he has a right to his opinions. There was one comment, however, that I did find extremely offensive and worthy of a response. In his letter, he implied that removal of the confederate flag from public display should be grouped with approval of gay rights and belief in climate change as things that are to be scoffed at and seen as anti-American. In this regard, Mr. Loeschen completely missed the point. If he had any knowledge of Iowa’s role in the Civil War, he probably would have rethought this categorization. Apparently, an understanding of Iowa history is not one of his strong points. There may be others as well, but that is beside the point.?
During the Civil War, Iowa sent 76,242 of its young men to fight against the confederacy. That was nearly 12 percent of the entire male population of the state of Iowa in 1860. Of those soldiers that served, 13,001 gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country. That represents a casualty rate of 17 percent of the total number of soldiers that served. No other war that the United States has fought in extracted such a harsh degree of sacrifice from the state of Iowa. My great-grandfather was a drummer boy in the Union Army during the Civil War and was a veteran of numerous battles during the war. Other relatives of my family never returned to Iowa from that war and were among the casualties that Iowa suffered. For this reason, my family has close ties to this terrible war. ?Because of these facts, I find the public display of the confederate flag to be extremely disrespectful to those brave men. The confederates were the enemy, and any public display of their flag is an affront to Civil War veterans and their families. I am sure that veterans of the Second World War and their families would find it extremely offensive to be subjected to the public display of the Nazi or Rising Sun battle flags. In that context, it should be understood that the families of the Iowa Civil War veterans feel the same way about the public display of the confederate flag. For the families of Civil War veterans, the public display of the Confederate flag is not about white supremacy, slavery, or racial bias, but about the disrespect that it shows their fallen heroes. ?Mr. Loeschen spoke so strongly about the moral side of the gay rights issue, but that must be where his morality ends. Why isn’t Mr. Loeschen morally outraged over the public display of the confederate flag; the battle banner flown by the Confederate rebels who took the lives of so many Iowans? In Iowa, there should be outrage over the public display of the Confederate flag. This would be especially true among the veterans of this State who have a moral obligation and solemn duty to preserve, regardless of the war they fought in, the honor of all Iowans who stepped forward to defend the United States. To do otherwise is a showing of ultimate disrespect to the young Iowa men that bravely fought, and in many case sided, in the service of their state and country.
- Gary Phillips