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Letter: Confederate flag isn't hate symbol

A rally in Lexington, Virginia, in September 2011

A rally in Lexington, Virginia, in September 2011 preceded a public hearing about banning the display of Confederate flags. Credit: Photo by Sam Dean/The Roanoke Ti

Comparing the Confederate flag to the swastika is a remarkable misinterpretation of history ["Swastika, Confederate flag both hate symbols," Letters, Aug. 7].

While the swastika was a symbol of a government plan to exterminate a race of people -- and anyone else it found offensive -- the Confederate flag was not. Far from wishing to exterminate slaves, Southern states depended on them to a great extent. At that time, many Southerners felt a greater loyalty to states rather than to the Union, and they fought for their way of life and the right to self-government.

The Confederate flag is part of our history -- one symbol of a terrible and destructive war to preserve the Union and to free slaves. It is no more a symbol of hate than was the Union flag a symbol of hate. Being intimidated by one remark into taking down a flag is a pitiful example of the loss of freedom of speech now prevalent in this country.

Carole Laurencelle, Huntington