A shift in the perception of the Civil War-era symbol seems to be solidifying among the armed forces, following the demonstrations against police brutality.
Georgia — The demonstrations triggered by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 keep having an impact on the treatment of race and the legacy of slavery across the nation.
This Tuesday, the U.S. Navy announced to be working on an order to ban the display of the Confederate flag on all public spaces and work areas aboard Navy installations, ships, aircraft, and submarines.
According to a statement provided by spokesman Commander Nate Christensen, the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Gilday, directed his staff to begin crafting the order.
“The order is meant to ensure unit cohesion, preserve good order and discipline, and uphold the Navy’s core values of honor, courage, and commitment,” Christensen added.
The move comes just a few days after the U.S. Marine Corps decreed that the public display of the Confederate flag was officially over around their facilities.
“The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps,” the U.S. Marines posted on its official Twitter page on June 5, and its website. “Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has had on our society.”
“The Marine Corps shall remove the Confederate battle flag from all installation public spaces and work areas in order to support our core values, ensure unit cohesion and security, and preserve good order and discipline.”
The Marine Corps’ order states that the Confederate flag must be removed from all Marine Corps schools, housing, training facilities, recruiting centers, government-owned housing, and offices, and public housing. It also must be kept out of public view, including bump stickers, hats, apparel, individual offices, and storage spaces to naval vessels and government vehicles. The full version of the order doesn’t specify a date for complying with it the new rule, but it decrees that “commanders shall issue lawful orders to remove the Confederate Battle Flag in accordance with this MARADMIN.”
NASCAR also announced today they too would be banning the public display of the Confederate flag at their events.
“The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry,” NASCAR said in a statement.
The reactions to the new ordinance on social media were predictably polarized.
The firm stance by the Marines comes as more city officials eradicate Confederate statues around the country. Last week, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that the Confederate statue of General Robert E. Lee in Richmond would be removed.
The Marines’ order was a build-up on the joint statement against racism made on June 3 by Marine Corps’ Commandant David H. Berger and Sergeant Major Troy E. Black. In it, Berger and Black continued to denounce the divisive nature of the Confederate flag, and the need for “commanders and leaders at all levels to have a conversation with their Marines and Sailors and against racism.”
“Current events are a stark reminder that it is not enough for us to remove symbols that cause division—rather, we also must strive to eliminate division itself,” say Berger and Black. “The trust Marines place in one another on a daily basis demands this. Only as a unified force, free from discrimination, racial inequality, and prejudice can we fully demonstrate our core values, and serve as the elite warfighting organization, America requires and expects us to be.”