Part 4:The City Answers, sort of
(includes Updates and Backsass)
Update Update Update
City Flag-Decision Webpage "Corrected"
A few days after sending my letter to city officials (on Wednesday, Feb. 23, to be exact) I looked in on the city's website and found that the flag decision page had been altered.
Here's how the offending paragraph originally read:
The Stars and Bars, the first national flag of the Confederate States, more accurately reflects the city's brief period (1861-1862) as part of the Confederacy. The Provisional Congress at Montgomery adopted the Stars and Bars as its official flag on March 4, 1861. Pensacola was under confederate occupation from January 8, 1861 until May 10, 1862.Here's how it read on Feb. 23:
It is the opinion of the City and several local historians that the "Stars and Bars," the first national flag of the Confederate States, more accurately reflects the historical period from January 8, 1861 to May10, 1862 during which the city was not under Federal occupation.Anybody out there want to hazard a guess as to what "not under Federal occupation" might mean to the folks down at City Hall?
City Manager Replies
From: Tom Bonfield <TBonfield@ci.pensacola.fl.us>
Thu 9:34 AM Subject: Letter related to Flag Decision
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear Mrs. Ward:
Thank you for your recent correspondence and questions. In an effort to expedite a response to your letter of February 15, 2000 I am taking the liberty of responding by email. In addition I am attaching a memorandum recently provided to the Mayor and City Council which I believe answers most of your questions and provides additional information. When I became city manager in November, 1998 I had no preconceived notions or questions of the historical accuracy of the confederate battle flag. The attachment includes my response as to the thought and events that led to the decision. The web site information was developed by the city's public relations consultant EW Bullock and Associates. I have reviewed your comments related to the use of words on the web site description of the issue and concur the language related to "occupancy" is inappropriate and have requested it be modified as soon as possible. Thank you for your comments and concerns.
FOR INFORMATION ONLY
TO: Mayor and City Council FROM: Thomas J. Bonfield, City Manager
DATE: February 21, 2000
SUBJECT: Decision to Exchange Confederate Flags
Several members of City Council are continuing to be contacted for information leading to the decision to exchange the Confederate Battle Flag with the National Flag of the Confederate States. Detailed below is a recap of the events and information which led to the decision that was confirmed by City Council at the February 7, 2000 City Council meeting.
The debate over the flying of the Confederate Battle Flag over government buildings in a number of states, including Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Georgia, appeared to intensify in the last several months with the focus on the South Carolina Capitol building and a possible boycott during the Superbowl in Atlanta. During the month of January, the issue of the battle flag flying over the City of Pensacola as part of the City of Five Flags display was referenced in local news stories on WEAR Channel 3, WKRG Channel 5, and the Florida Sun weekly newspaper. Anticipating that the issue would continue to intensify both nationally and locally I, along with several senior staff members, began to research such issues as how the City became the City of Five Flags and if the City ever officially adopted the slogan or the specific flags that were flown. At the same time, we reviewed the timelines of the Federal and Confederate control of the City. An article in the Florida Sun weekly in early January also again highlighted the various flags of the Confederacy. The research confirmed that the City of Five Flags slogan and logo was developed by the private Fiesta of Five Flags organization and over time was incorporated into flag displays by the City, but never officially adopted by the City or City Council. We were unable to confirm when the City government actually began flying the five flags nor where such displays may have been removed over the last fifty years. Currently, the flags are displayed by the City at three locations: City Hall, Osceola Golf Course, and at the Gateway on Gregory Street - all added within the last twenty years. The historical timeline research indicated that the First National Flag of the Confederacy (Stars and Bars), not the Confederate Battle Flag, was the adopted flag for the period of time during the Civil War that the City was not under Federal occupation and control.
Following this initial research, I contacted noted local historian Earle Bowden to discuss this issue. Mr. Bowden confirmed these preliminary findings and indicated that in his previous research he was of the opinion that the Stars and Bars, not the Battle Flag, was the historically correct flag and the one that officially flew over Pensacola during a portion of the Civil War. Mr. Bowden indicated there are several Civil War photographs of the Stars and Bars flying over Fort Barrancas and also reminded us that the Stars and Bars flag that is said to have flown over Pensacola is displayed at the Confederate museum downtown. Mr. Bowden reported that the Pensacola News Journal conducted similar research several years ago and came to the same conclusion and uses the Stars and Bars in the Five Flags display in front of their building. Mr. Bowden prepared a summary report of his findings which was later provided to City Council. Mr. John Daniels, Executive Director of the Historic Pensacola Preservation Board confirmed these conclusions and later another local historian, Mr. John Appleyard, also indicated he could not confirm the Battle Flag ever flew over Pensacola.
After the decision to exchange the flags, it was also learned that approximately five years ago the Fiesta of Five Flags executive board also researched this issue and came to the same conclusion, but elected to retain the more recognized Battle Flag in its displays.
Upon review of the City Code and discussion with the City Attorney, it was determined that the City Manager is responsible for the management of all City facilities and as such was responsible for such a decision to place or exchange flags at City facilities, recognizing that the City Council could always elect to override any decision. (As an editorial comment, I want to emphasize difference between the responsibility of the City Manager versus words like â€œauthorityâ€ and â€œpowerâ€ which have been negatively referenced by those opposed to this decision.) While I was certainly aware of the impact of the decision, I did not feel that it was one that should be passed off to City Council and that raising the issue with a recommendation was part of my responsibility. While many have questioned the lack of public hearings, meetings, or debate on the issue prior to the decision being announced, I thought it was important to be proactive and decisive rather than appear to be responding to any groupsâ€™ demand or engage in prolonged debate leading to a decision. I knew that after the decision there would be opportunity for direct and indirect citizen input to the City Council.
Based on all the information available, I made a decision to move forward and exchange the flag. At no time did any group, organization, or individual request or approach me about this issue of removing the Confederate Battle Flag.
On Tuesday, January 25, 2000, I called Mayor Pro tem Jack Nobles to discuss this decision. Later that afternoon, I issued a written directive to Assistant City Manager Al Coby and Leisure Services Director Red Vickrey to order replacement flags.
On Thursday, January 27, 2000, I also discussed this matter during a lunch meeting with Councilmember Mike Wiggins. It was my intention to personally discuss the decision with each Councilmember prior to the actual exchange of flags over the next week.
During the Open Forum section of the January 27, 2000 City Council meeting, two citizens unexpectedly requested that City Council remove the Confederate Battle Flag from City Hall. No city Councilmember or I responded. The following day, I called the Mayor and every Councilmember and advised them of the action I had taken earlier in the week because I was concerned that it would appear the action was in response to the comments made by citizen the prior evening. I was unable to reach either Councilmember King or Jones. An information memorandum was prepared and delivered to the Mayor and each Councilmember with a request they contact me at home over the weekend if there were any questions or comments and none were received.
On Friday afternoon, I contacted Ginny Graybiel at the Pensacola News Journal to advise her of the decision made earlier in the week, again wanting to make it clear the decision was not in response to any group or individual request. Ginny agreed to hold the story until Monday to be sure that all Councilmembers were informed. Ms. Graybiel contacted me again on Monday and the story ran Tuesday morning. On Monday afternoon, Mr. Leroy Boyd, President of the Movement for Change organization came to my office with an official request to be placed on the next Council committee meeting to discuss the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag. At that time, I advised Mr. Boyd of the earlier decision. Mr. Boyd indicated that he was not aware and very surprised to hear of my decision.
As the news of the decision was reported through print, television, and radio media, I received numerous telephone calls, e-mails, and letters from those opposed and in favor of the decision. While I responded to some of the more significant calls, such as from Philip White, President of the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, it has not been possible to return ever telephone call or respond to every e-mail. I have retained copies of every e-mail and letter received and will make them available as requested. Since many of the e-mails received were from outside of the area and appeared to be under the assumption that the decision was to remove the Confederate flag entirely rather than exchange one Confederate Flag for another, I asked the Cityâ€™s public relations consultant E. W. Bullock and Associates to prepare an information item on the decision and post it on the City web site.
In conclusion, while I am confident I would make the same decision again I regret there are those who see this decision as one of dishonoring heroes, defacing Confederate banners, or attacking flags. I do not believe anyone at the City is advocating a disrespect or dismissal of this heritage or period in City history. At the same time, I would reiterate the decision was not a dictate for the entire Pensacola community. I affected displays at three City facilities. While the Escambia County Commission has taken action to retain the Confederate Battle Flag in their display at the Civic Center, as of yet I am not aware of any final decision on displays at the downtown Post Office, NAS Pensacola, or by the Fiesta of Five Flags organization.
Please let me know if you would like additional information or would like to discuss this matter further.
The "corrected" paragraph says that during this time period, Pensacola was "not under Federal occupation." The old paragraph words it this way:
"Pensacola was under confederate occupation from January 8, 1861 until May 10, 1862."
Whoever wrote these sentences evidently thinks that the status of military occupation of a location determines its nationality.
Actually, the first sentence of the old paragraph illustrates it best: "The Stars and Bars, the first national flag of the Confederate States, more accurately reflects the city's brief period (1861-1862) as part of the Confederacy."
The city's brief period as part of the Confederacy?
Listen, Pensacola was PART OF THE CONFEDERACY FOR AS LONG AS THE CONFEDERACY EXISTED. As I explained to Mr. Bonfield, Pensacola was part of Florida, and Florida seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy. Florida remained part of the Confederacy until the end of the War -- therefore, so did Pensacola.
In 1862, the Confederate troops defending Pensacola and environs were pulled out and sent to areas where the need for troops was far greater. Union troops then moved into and occupied the city. Evidently, to some people, that means Pensacola was no longer part of the Confederacy. Duh.
Did Paris cease to be part of France and become part of Germany when German troops occupied the city beginning in June 14, 1940?
Did Tokyo cease to be part of Japan and become part of the USA when US and allied troops occupied the city after World War II?
Did Pensacola cease to be part of the Confederacy and become part of the Union when Union troops occupied the city in 1862?
Pensacola city officials at the time sure didn't think so. They up and moved the city government to Greenville, Alabama, behind Confederate lines, and operated the city from there. Whatever Confederate flags flew over Greenville during that time period also flew over Pensacola's city government and, therefore, by proxy, over Pensacola itself.
Later in the war, Union troops abandoned Pensacola and afterward, Confederate troops returned to the city several times. What flags were they flying?
When searching historical records to document which Confederate flag is "historically correct" for Pensacola, the entire period comprising the Confederacy's existence must be searched, not just the early period when Confederate soldiers manned the city's fortifications.
There is no flag that better represents the Confederate States of America than the Confederate battle flag in its rectangular, or naval ensign, form. Over the decades since the war, it has become by far the best known and most recognized Confederate flag.
This is not only true today; it was true during the period that the Confederacy existed. In fact, the star-studed blue St. Andrew's cross on a field of red was so symbolic of the Confederate nation that Congress voted to make it a part of the national flag.
On May 1, 1863, the Stainless Banner, a white flag with the square Confederate battle flag in the upper left corner, was authorized by Congress as the CSA's national flag. The Stainless Banner was modified in 1865 to have a wide red border down its free edge and in this form was designated the "Third National" flag. The Confederate battle flag motif remained in the upper left corner.
Pensacola was part of the Confederacy during each evolution of the flag, regardless of which Army was in town, and regardless of whether the flag actually flew here or not. The battle flag should go back up in the Five Flags displays, because it is more representative of the Confederate nation that any other flag. But if the powers that be demand that an actual national flag fly in the displays, it should be the Third National -- not the ones the Confederate Congress voted to replace.
Now I see where one of Mr. Bonfield's historians has come out questioning the very existence of Pensacola's "Five Flags" tradition. Don't want the Confederate flag up there? Heck, take 'em ALL down! Don't need 'em anyway, they're just a promotional gimmick, a slogan, no more meaningful than "Miracle Strip."
People really need to understand the enormity of what's behind the war on traditional heritage and culture in this country. It is an orchestration of the globalist-mentality crowd who believe it will be easier to divest America of her sovereignty and make her a slave to a global government with a global economy -- if the American people can be divorced from their freedom-loving past.
It's not just Dixie that's under attack. In New Jersey, there are rumblings that the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are racist documents. Soon, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, et. al., will join Lee, Jackson and Davis as Earth's most evil villians. The leftists have their sites trained on Dixie right now because we have a history of defying tyranny and if resistance to socialist enslavement rises anywhere in the USA, it will rise in the South. Tyrants like to nip resistance in the bud.... But never forget that all America is their goal.
The truly sad thing is that so many people are being suckered into supporting the demise of what's left of our great Republic simply because they can't see (or refuse to see) the big picture.
If they win, I guess I'll see ya in the gulag!
Original content Copyright Â© 2000 by Connie Ward, Perpetrator. All rights reserved.