The following is a Letter to the Editor, submitted by Gary Ayres, regarding the importance of symbols and what they represent. -Editor
There is much ado today about Confederate symbols. From schools, which have or have had the Confederate Battle Flag as their symbol, to heritage organizations which honour their Confederate ancestors, down to individuals who want to honour their ancestors. This even goes as far as government officials spearheading the removal of Confederate flags at Confederate cemeteries. These folks are just looking for the vote or prestige. Folks like former Missouri Governor Bob Holden, Presidential candidate Richard Gephardt, and current Missouri Governor Matt Blunt. These are just a few among the many. The Veteran Administration and the Department of Natural Resources of Missouri are just a couple of departments to name. Government officials want to degrade Confederate symbols, and they want them erased from history. Though they know what is right, they just want to be elected, and will do whatever there is to do for a vote.
Our government wants you to recognize countries which secede from their mother countries today, yet they do not want you to recognize the secession of the Southern States and the forming or their new country. Either secession is right or it is wrong. You can’t have it both ways, regardless of what our elected officials want and seems to get. I should not just say “government officials,” but also those folks and anyone else who joins in with them. It is something akin to wanting to be popular with the bullies on the block.
A jayhawker (I refuse to capitalize jayhawker, for it does not rate that distinction) is a most evil description of a person or an institution. It represents nothing good—thievery; murder of men, women, and children; rape; and complete destruction of communities in Missouri before, during, and after the War Between the States (WBTS). A “jayhawker” equals “genocide,” for that is what they were good at! Two very well known “jayhawkers” were Senator James H. Lane of Kansas, who later was made a Brigadier General by President Lincoln, and Col. Charles “Doc” Jennison. Brigadier General Lane had the go ahead from President Lincoln to do his “duty” to Missouri, but not convey it back to Washington. This was state terrorism provided for by the federal government.(1) Senator, and later United States Army BG, James H. Lane, was given the name “The Grim Chieftain” for his atrocities in Missouri. Col. Jennison of the US Army, in tandem with Lane, burnt the western part of Missouri, turning it into a wasteland. This was an order from the federal government—to leave Missouri a wasteland and remove all its citizens from the area. Again, genocide. After these mens’ atrocities in Missouri, the only things remaining were charred fireplaces. These sites were known as “Jennison’s Monuments.” This, along with the rape, murder and thievery should not be something to be proud of. Certainly not to have a collegiate school’s mascot and the nickname of a State to be known as “the jayhawkers.” This would be the State of Kansas and the Kansas University, both being known as “the jayhawkers.” Today these men would be considered war criminals; they committed atrocities on citizens of the United States and the Confederate States and at the nod of Lincoln. They have never been brought to justice.
Regardless of the many years past, these crimes should and must be brought to justice. Let us bring this into today’s events. The burning and depopulation of Missouri in the 1860s mirrors what has been happening to many European countries today. You do not condone what is happening there, so why would you condone the same activities from your own government or military. In other words, genocide was OK when the US government enacted it, but it is not OK when it involves other countries today.
Now take the Confederate Battle Flag or symbols of the Confederacy. They did not stand for any such actions as did “the jayhawkers,” regardless of what you have heard from teachers or clergy. Confederate symbols are good and uplifting. Do some studying yourself and you will find this to be true. The Confederate Battle Flag was and is a symbol of freedom and religion. It is an ensign of the Christian faith, patterned after Saint Andrew’s cross. For those who do not know the history of St. Andrew’s cross, research it. It’s well worth the time. “The Confederate flag is a Christian flag and it represents freedom from tyranny.” Judge Alfred Roman said this is as he presented the flag to Colonel Walton. He said “In the name of General Beauregard, under whose eyes you first went under fire at Manassas, I have the honour to present to you this sacred emblem of Southern valour and patriotism.”(2) “The flag represents those who are opposed to unlimited federal government. The flag represents a limited constitutional republic. A view of government opposed to the powers that be.”(3) The Confederate Battle flag is also known as the “Southern Cross.” It was adopted consciously, purposefully, and premeditatedly to display faith in the sovereign God of heaven and earth, faith in the providence of that God, the God of history and the God of salvation.(4)
But of another symbol, how can a group of folks come to memorialize a symbol which represents everything bad and against the foundation of what this country was founded under? That symbol is the “jayhawker” of Kansas. The Confederate Battle Flag and symbols are the symbols of what the United States were founded under: a republic of limited centralized government, or in other words states’ rights. What is sad is that our children learn the distorted version of history, which teaches that the Confederate States of America and the Confederate flags are evil. They also teach an egregious error in that the Confederacy was for slavery and the Confederate flags stand for slavery. They learn from government-instituted schools. These schools teach what they are instructed to teach and not what history actually was. And if it can be worse, we buy into what the education system teaches our children and grandchildren.
When will we put a stop to it? Confederate mascots and symbols are removed from schools, yet the KU “jayhawker” can be proudly seen on KU’s campus and all over the TV, especially during sports events. Nothing is ever said how terribly wrong this is, but then look who writes the text books for schools: the same type of individuals who caused hundreds of thousands of our southern citizens to die. They were either killed on the battle field; in their homes before, during, and after the war; ordered to leave Missouri; and the mothers and children jailed for no reason other than standing up for what they believed in. Let us remember that when the several states seceded from the United States, they did nothing illegal; it was their right under the US Constitution. Also remember that the Confederate symbols are not bad. It is the few “bad apples” who have made it looked upon as bad, and then many who are ignorant to the facts who jump on this band wagon and want to destroy the history of a new country, its people, and its descendants today. Then we have the US Army and the Kansas jayhawkers who were nothing but evil. The jayhawkers were formed to do evil, supported by the US Army and US government, yet they are looked upon as heroes or saviours.
The next time you see someone saying he is a “jayhawker,” ask him why he wants to symbolize or associate himself with something so vile, evil, and just plain un-Christian?
- Abraham Lincoln, Complete Works, Speeches, Letters, State Papers by Nicolay and Hay
- “The Truth About the Confederate Battle Flag,” Pastor John Weaver, West Columbia, South Carolina.
Gary Ayres– is the Commander of the John T. Coffee Camp #1934, Missouri Sons of Confederate Veterans.