Like many Americans, I watched last Wednesday as a mob ransacked my country’s Capitol building. They were there for the purpose of overturning the results of a legitimate election through violence, in other words, attempting a coup d’état against the United States. They were motivated in their sedition by the white supremacist belief that only their votes mattered. Their rage and desire to destroy their own country rather than concede that it also belongs to non-White people shows the power of racism. In the days since the event, thousands of images have filtered around social media, but a few concern Bedford in particular. As you can see, the Bedford flag was flying at the insurrection.
It was shocking to see that someone, probably a Bedford resident, would reappropriate this old flag for an act of sedition against the country that it belongs to. At the same time, perhaps it is not surprising. The flag was designed as a battle flag for the Revolutionary War and was carried in battle against the government at the time. The text on it, meaning “conquer or die,” makes it clear that the flag represents violence. I can understand why a seditionist would carry it.
Wednesday was a shameful day to be an American. Having grown up in Bedford, and seeing our history used to further the cause of white supremacy, made it even more shameful. The events show that white supremacy is alive and well not just on the National Mall, but in our town too.
Editor’s Note: Charles Connell was a member of the Class of 2009 at Bedford High School.