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American flag at cemetery flying at half-staff by decree

Sometime in the afternoon of Wednesday, July 22, at Louden’s Chapel Cemetery, someone anonymously took it up himself to raise the American flag and drop the Black Lives Matter flag below it to the ground, both of which had been flying at half-staff in honor of the passing of U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

The American flag was, by presidential decree, to be flown at half-staff, and, given that the last public appearance by Rep. Lewis was at the Black Lives Matter street mural in Washington, D.C., and given that Rep. Lewis gave his life in the service of racial justice, the BLM flag seemed to me an appropriate, specific honor.

To the individual who is responsible for this act of white supremacy, I can only hope that you do no further damage to your own terrified consciousness, to your family by nurturing such hatred or to your neighbors and fellow citizens.

My fervent hope is that you will educate yourself in seeking an understanding of what the BLM movement is all about: the dismantling of systemic racism that afflicts all of us in this nation that has yet to realize its grand dreams but nonetheless pushes on to make a better country than it was the day before. Perhaps you can call upon your pastor or former teachers for insights, or you might spend an evening on the internet seeking views contrary to your own apparent white supremacy. Or, you could just talk to me, if you have the courage to overcome your cowardly anonymity.

If Harrison County is to grow and to prosper in the future, it must challenge such attitudes of white supremacy, blatant as in this case, or quietly insistent when one supposes no one notices or cares.

Wearing a BLM face mask when in town doing necessary business, I have now been shot, with a cocked thumb and pointed finger, seven times in the past month. Hatred destroys those who hate, and those of us who love must not regard silence as an act of loving.

So, I speak to you, whomever you may be, out of love, the agape that binds us in our common humanity. Call me before you desecrate the flag and dishonor yourself once again.

Michael Loudon, President, Louden’s Chapel Cemetery Board