Times change. Back in 1973 I joinded the Civil War Round Table of Wilmington Del. Since that time I have visited may dozens of Civil War battlefields, and some like Antietam and Gettysburg many times over. I went on to write a number of Civil War books and articles. During the period between 1973 and 1995 I used to fly the Confederate battle flag under the American flag at our Jersey Shore summer place, seeing it as nothing more than a part of the history I loved to study.

But times change. No way would I fly a Confederate flag for any reason today. Now as a good Yankee boy I was always partial to the Union cause and certainly flying the Confederate battle flag wasn’t meant to exhibit some sort of contemporary political statement. But like I say times have changed.

To fly a Confederate battle flag today would, indeed, be making, for me, a bad political statement pure and simple. I understand that a lot of young folks might find this hard to square. But in the end it always comes down to where one’s heart is more than anything.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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