Archive for February, 2012

Confederate vs Union

February 29, 2012

I have realized over four years time of living in South Carolina, how all the hype about the Civil war and the ever-present Confederate flag has actually reinforced my pride in being from “the Union side”. It’s infectious, this accentuation of this time in our past. It is inescapable. It is part of the culture of southern life, especially in South Carolina. One has to know one’s roots. Where do y’all live? Where y’all from? How long you been here? (Translation: did your ancestors fight alongside mine? are you “one of us”?) I say this somewhat light-heartedly. There is a recognition that we are now in a different time period. Still, family names are recognized. It is important in people’s minds. Family names and how long yours have lived in the area are absolutely blazed into your forehead, like a flashing neon sign. My maiden name of AGNEW is actually present here. One of the original Agnew brothers went south, to South Carolina. The others stayed in Pennsylvania and gradually moved to the Midwest, Ohio, Indiana. But most people down here don’t know my maiden name.

I love the rural-ness of this state, and would greatly miss it if we left. I love the forest, the palms and the pines. It is now a part of me and I would hate to go back to Winter and open plains, corn and soybeans, and vast open sky. Even to move to North Carolina is moving away from the ruralness and pines of South Carolina. Each place is its own place.

And I wonder, what is it like to be FROM such a place, where “all my relation” are all around you at all times? It must be a wonderful feeling, a feeling of belonging, a feeling of acceptance. Something more like I feel when we are “back home in Indiana” near the Wabash, and I see my grandparents as shadows swimming in it and canoeing nearly a century ago, in its waters. . . Something like that. But there is no emphasis on the civil war, like there is down here.

Living down here, that part of me COMES OUT, my great- grandfather’s Union army registration card means all the WORLD to me. And I am SO PROUD. I don’t have to worry about what to do about the Confederate flag. Frankly, we saw it for what it is a long time ago. And we took it down. No Union army flag flies at our statehouse. Only the flag OF THE UNION. The flag of our country, the United States of America. That’s what the fight was all about. And my great grandpa fought on the side that made it so.