Letter — Because you can — doesn’t mean you should

Published 5:32 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2022

To the Editor:

I am writing to comment on the recent placement of the large confederate flag adjacent to the property of Crossroads Community Services Board. Crossroads is a publicly funded agency that provides an array of services to individuals with metal health and substance use disorders as well as individuals with developmental disabilities who need support to live a rewarding life in the community. While I do not live in Prince Edward County, I do come here each day to work. I am an employee of the agency. However, I do not express the opinions of the agency in this letter. I speak only for myself as a private citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and no employee of the agency has in any way sanctioned my comments.

Regarding the oversize confederate flag, I do not believe that those involved in erecting and commemorating its placement were motivated by ill will or the desire to cause distress to anyone. On the contrary, I believe that they were acting only from an intention to honor the unique history of Virginia and those who died for a cause they believed, at the time, to be correct. As time has moved on and as we have grown as a nation, we have developed a different understanding of history. This necessarily includes the Civil War. Today, seeing the confederate flag fly is distressing and upsetting to many of the individuals who work and receive services at Crossroads. This is not an assumption on my part; it is based upon conversations I have had with a number of people at the agency. How the flag is impacting the larger Farmville community, I do not know.

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The question of whether or not the flag has the right to fly in its present location seems irrelevant. It is on private land, so the issue of its right to be there is moot. The question that concerns me is should the flag fly there? Understanding what a painful symbol the flag is to many, many people, should it be there? It seems we have become a society where what is valued is to say whatever you like, regardless of who is harms, because you have the right to do so. How sad that we have lost the true meaning of freedom of speech.

Michele Ebright