I seriously doubt any of us can say, “I have never made a mistake”. Innocent childhood mistakes aside – like touching the stove even after being warned “You'll get burned” - and foolish, youthful “WATCH THIS!” episodes aside, we humans do not always get it right the first time around. Learning from experience is an integral part of our education.

Our 'mistakes' get more serious as we get older – mistakes we make as individuals and as a group, and as nations. They become more deliberate. We study political issues and choose to take a stand. We study career options and choose a promising job. We study people and choose a mate. And sometimes we find it difficult to live with the consequences of our choices. Or we can choose NOT to live with those consequences. Rarely during those study periods did we consider that one day we might be thinking “I wish I had…. I wish I had not….

Looking back at our own personal history helps us make better decisions for our future – if we can be objective about admitting this or that was not the wisest path we could have chosen. The same holds true for nations. We do not have to be history scholars to understand that over-expansion, enslaving the masses, depleting natural resources, deifying tyrants, persecuting religious groups, condemning a future generation to the front lines of losing battle after losing battle… these are choices that lead to disaster. Downfall.

And so we build holocaust museums and cast statues of the famous and infamous. And we make movies that showcase Atlanta in flames, and we pen passionate eulogies at the “final resting place for those who here gave their lives...”, and the “Trail of Tears”… and “Abraham, Martin, and John”…. We even design magnificent monuments in memory of soldiers unknown.

But now we want to tear all that down? Blast away incredible sculptures in the rocks along our scenic highways? Remove statues and paintings and plaques and tombstones…. While we are burning the Confederate Flag, shall we also burn the Emancipation Proclamation and the Declaration of Independence and the Paris Peace Treaties from 1947? Why are we so eager to pretend parts of our history never existed? Remember our furious outcry several years back when ISIS was destroying Iraqi antiquities because they did not like the history certain artifacts represented? BARBARIC, we said! How was that any different than toppling General Lee to the ground? Or removing the Confederate Flag from courthouse after courthouse?

I have no problem with the Confederate flag. I do not see it as a symbol of slavery and oppression. It is a reminder that once upon a time, the citizens of this country had a rather major difference of opinion about how this nation should conduct its business. Slavery was not the most important issue. If that rebel flag represents anything, it speaks to our inability to negotiate – a failure to come to terms with our differences and try to find solutions for our common problems and concerns.

We must stop this constant bickering about trivialities. We have serious common problems today that demand our attention. We have to stop pretending this has never happened before. Or soon, we will be “engaged in [another] great civil war…”.

Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.   Edmund Burke

Peace be with you.