July 26, 1869
Virginians love and respect the American flag and its values. They never meant to disrespect the flag throughout the war, and they vow never to part with the flag again.
The Flag. Since we wrested the flag from the traitors to the principles of American freedom and unfolded it to the pure atmosphere of a regenerated liberty, if looks more dignified and serene to us all. Alas, poor flag, thou hast been greatly abused in thy time! Great "crimes have been perpetrated in thy name." Let us hold on to the staff, now that we have gotten it in our hands, and determine that we will not part witli it again, and that it shall float over a just and impartial Government if the influence and example of Virginia are not entirely without weight and force. Yes, that flag has become renowned through the prowess and patriotism of Virginia as much as through the achievements of any people on this continent. We boldly claim it as proprietor of our share of its honors and its glories. We mean to defend it, and as far as lies in our power we do not mean that it shall be outraged. Upon a point of honor and principle Virginia put forth her shield between the Federal Government and the southern people, deeming it her solemn duty to make common cause with them. She fell with them. She never dishonored the flag by espousing one single principle hostile to those rights and that grand and enlightened principle of liberty which the revolution of '76 consecrated. And she seizes the staff now with no waning of devotion for those principles, and with, if anything, a stronger resolution than ever to protect it from all outrage. It waves over Virginia now with a serenity that is undisturbed save by the apprehension that the iron-clad oath is to be exacted of us--that oath which is gratuitous, a mere surplusage for honest men. and entirely valueless in protecting the Government against rogues. It is a libel upon the principles which consecrated the flag, and that ensign of the honor of the nation flaunts its silrnt indignation upon the mere suggestion that that oath is to be required of us every minute in the day! Let us hope that in a short time even this outrage upon the principles of the revolution will be ended, and that the flag consecrated by the blood of our Virginia ancestors may wave over a people entirely free and once more under the panoply of the Constitution and the laws, respected and impartially and justly administered.
About this article
“The Flag,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed July 4, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1427.