Walt Disney World has removed a Confederate flag from among the flags hanging in the entrance hallway at the American Adventure theater in Epcot.
This is the latest example of businesses and governments across the country removing Confederate flags from public display after an alleged white supremacist killed several members of an African Methodist Episcopal church in South Carolina last month. The flag removed from Epcot is not the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia most commonly associated with the Confederacy, thanks to its adoption in early 20th century by the Ku Klux Klan and later revival in the 1950s and 60s by southerners in opposition to the civil rights movement. The flag that had hung in the American Adventure was the last official flag of the Confederate States of America, a white field with a red stripe on one end and small representation of the familiar battle flag in the opposite corner.
The American Adventure show in Epcot has won praise from many visitors for its sensitive handling of the American Civil War, using the original song "Two Brothers" to illustrate a metaphorical split in an American family caused by the war. (The song also has played during "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" at Disneyland.)
That said, the attraction is the American Adventure and, ultimately, a Confederate flag is not an American flag. It's actually the antithesis of one — the flag of a territory that took up arms in treason against the United States of America. So one could say that removing it from a display of American flags is not only respectful, it's historically appropriate. Of course, one also could note that the Epcot display includes several flags of other nations that flew over what is now American territory. So... pick a side.
Disney's not the only theme park with a Confederate flag on display, either. Let's not forget that the flag of the Confederacy is one of the "six flags" that flew over Texas, inspiring the name of that theme park chain. Most parks in that chain fly six American flags at their entrances to honor the name (dodging the issue of whether to fly the Confederate flag), but the original Six Flags Over Texas park outside Dallas flies the historical six flags: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederacy, and the United States of America.
Note that Six Flags also does not fly the battle flag, but instead flies the first official flag of the Confederacy, the "stars and bars" that more than 90 percent of visitors probably could not identify as a Confederate flag. (It's the third from the left in the photo above.) As that flag wasn't adopted as a symbol by the Klan or opponents of civil rights, it doesn't have the same cultural significance or emotional impact as the battle flag. Which one could suppose with little risk is why Six Flags is flying it rather than one of the other versions of the Confederate flag that do include the battle flag.Tweet
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