It’s been 150 years since the end of the Civil War. Almost 50 years since the Civil Rights Movement. Yet, there are issues concerning the removal of the confederate flag and more recently, the destruction of the carving on Stone Mountain, Georgia, today in 2015.  Why?

I think we need to stop racial identifying and realize we are “Americans”.  Where your ancestors may have arrived from, or how they arrived in this country really doesn’t matter.  If you was born on U.S. soil, or to U.S. parents living abroad, you are American no matter what the color of skin or ancestral heritage.  We are “American” and  we are equal in Freedoms and Rights set forth by the Founders of this Nation and all of those who fought for our equality and freedoms.  There are no Native-Americans, no Latin-Americans, no African-Americans.  Those are racial identifying terms and of no consequence today.  We are “Americans”!

I hear the different heritage terms on the news stations, talk shows, social media, but I’ve yet to hear much of the term “AMERICAN”.  I am American!  Makes no difference what my ancestry is.  My ancestors were from England and France, yet I don’t proclaim to be British/French-American.  I am American, the same as  millions of other people of this country.  How my Great Grandparents got here or where they came from doesn’t matter.  I was born in this country and like all other millions born in this country, we are “American”!

We are American, whether we were born of rich parents, poor parents, fat parents, or skinny parents…and it doesn’t matter what ancestry or heritage the genealogy of our family’s may have derived from…We are American!  That is our “Nationality”, and the term “American” began with the end of the Revolutionary War, winning Independence, and becoming a new country free of British rule.

Every country and nation on this planet has parts of its history and past it would like to eradicate and forget, and our country’s history isn’t any different than any other.  Every country, from its origin, has a history of wars, battles, and revolutions, of overthrown monarchs, kings, pharaohs, emperors, and civil wars erupting throughout each country’s many years of existence.  But, that is the “history”, the “heritage”, of their country and people.  It’s events, whether good or bad, occurred, and unfortunately are unable to be reversed.  Our country has suffered that same level of history that scars our heritage since the signing of The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution.  They are events that we may not be proud of, but we can’t change the past, no matter how hard we try or how determined we might be, the ugly part of our Nation’s past, its heritage, our “American” heritage, is going to remain.

The Civil War is an ugly part of our Nation’s heritage.  The southern states, wanting to secede from the Union in order to preserve their way of life and utilizing slavery, appointed themselves a President and designed a flag to represent the Confederate States. Both have historic places in our heritage.  After the war and the Confederate States’ failure to secede, the U.S. Congress should have passed a law forbidding the Confederate flag to be flown on any  federal, state, or county buildings, nor privately, as this would be considered treason, and punishable by United States law.  Should Russian, Chinese, Korean, or any other nation’s flag be waving above any of our governmental buildings?  Absolutely not!  It’s not our National Flag, nor is the confederate flag.  That flag has no place, other than in a historic museum, depicting the part it played in the history of our country, the same as the rebel and union soldier uniforms, guns, and other historic items from that time period we only see in historic museums.

But what about Stone Mountain?  I don’t see it as a racial artifact.  It’s a historical relief depicting those that played a part in our American heritage, not created or designed to be a form of racial supremacy.  It’s much the same as the purpose of Mount Rushmore…a historical relief depicting men that played an important role in our American heritage, and both were created years after the Civil War, by Gutzon Borglum between 1927 to 1941.

As I said, neither were created or designed as a form of racial supremacy.  If Stone Mountain is looked upon as a supremacy factor, then do we also destroy the Lincoln Memorial or blast Lincoln’s face off of Mount Rushmore, as that could be misconstrued by some in a negative manner, a reminder of that part of our country,s ugly past, or as a reminder of supremacy as well?  How many other artifacts, statues, or memorabilia need to be destroyed in an attempt to eradicate the ugly parts of  our American history?  Thousands of Americans were killed, maimed, or died from injuries…of all different races, ethnic backgrounds, and heritages, yet all were Americans.  No matter what side of the Civil War these depicted figures fought on, they were an important part of the who and why of our American history and heritage.

Our country had another civil uprising in the 60’s, should the important persons associated with the Civil Rights Movement be removed or taken down because some may find them offensive or intimidating, racial, or invoke feelings of supremacy?  Should statues or depictions of Martin Luther King, Jr. be destroyed?  Certainly not, they too are an important part of the history and heritage in the story of our Nation.

We need to see all of the memorabilia, statues, and historic places, not as a racist symbol or intimidation, but to remind each of us that discrimination, racism, supremacy, nor slavery, has a place in America today. Yes, they are a reminder of the ugly parts in the history of our Nation, a memorial to all who fought, led, or died for those causes, but destroying, eradicating historic depictions is not going to change the history nor the past of our country.

Today, we need to embrace the suffering, pain and deaths of all of these people and be the country they gave their lives to be and dreamed we would one day be.  Stop the racial identifying.  We are one Nation, one People, United, all Equal, because of our “Nationality” and our given Rights.  Not by our ancestry or genealogy.


Seniam Nevets

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