Return of the Confederate battle flags to Virginia, North Carolina and Texas on December 16, 1927. An earlier attempt by President Cleveland in 1887 met with successful opposition by the Grand Army of the Republic (Union veterans) as “trophies” of the War that should not be returned. It would be “treasonous” according to the large body of obstinate veterans.
President Theodore Roosevelt, through a careful coordination with Congress, restored a partial collection of battle flags to the Southern states in 1905, taking them from storage by the War Department in Washington.
Like so many old wounds, however, President Coolidge did not evade the controversy for fear that it would cost political support. Coolidge upheld just dealings toward all, whether it was the full citizenship for all tribes or fair honor due Southern Americans who fought just as valiantly as the Yankees did for principled reasons. It was overdue time to lay aside hostility, heal old grievances, and reestablish peace between Americans, North and South.
He recognized his duty included leadership by example to help reunite the country around the essentials we share as Americans. It would not be right to misuse a President’s influence by keeping us divided and at war with one another. He was as much an advocate of peace at home as he was abroad.