Many people in the South, and a few people in other parts of the nation, argue that the Confederate flag represents Southern heritage and that flying it or displaying it is a matter of free speech.
But the country’s top military leaders see it a different way. They have responsibility to lead their troops, and they cannot do that without showing the troops respect.
To many African American military members the Confederate flag is a symbol of slavery and the severe discrimination and oppression that followed slavery.
So the military found a way to eliminate the confederate flag from military installations without specifically banning it.
In a carefully worded policy memo, signed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper last week, the types of flags that are permitted to be displayed are spelled out — the U.S. flag and state banners, flags of allies and partners, the POW/MIA flag and official military unit flags. The memo does not mention the Confederate flag or use the word ban, but the memo is clear — if it’s not on the approved list, it’s not allowed.
This is the right decision by military leaders, who are honoring the sensibilities of their officers and their enlisted men.
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette