On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in an amendment that was proposed by Rep. Jared Huffman to ban the confederate battle flag in cemeteries under the operation of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Representatives passed the amendment in a 265 to 159 vote prohibiting to display the flag on veterans cemeteries and over mass graves. The amendment was added to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.
The usage of the Confederate flag is reduced to only two days a year which includes Memorial Day and Confederates Memorial Day, although families can display small flags in their loved one’s graves.
“Slavery was abolished over 150 years ago, why in the year 2016 are we still condoning displays of the fateful symbol on our sacred national cemeteries?” Said Rep. Jared Huffman who proposed the amendment.
Since 2015, there has been a big motivation to reduce the usage of the confederate battle flag in public and politic places, motivated to mass shootings against African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina.
Two views of the flag
Even though the U.S House of Representatives passed the amendment proposed by Rep. Huffman 159 members voted against the proposal, in the House 84 members belong to the republican party.
Huffman has stated this is the next step towards a “right direction” yet the Representative considers a shameful act that a third of the House members voted against the amendment, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Gen. Robert E. Lee knew that Confederate flags= symbols of treason. House agreed & moved fwd to 2016 w. this vote. https://t.co/h4SQylG9CF
— Rep. Jared Huffman (@RepHuffman) May 19, 2016
“Why would anyone in Congress let alone a majority of the governing party still condone displays of this hateful symbol on our national cemeteries? Symbols like the Confederate battle flag have meaning. They are just not neutral historical symbols of pride, they represent slavery, war, lynchings and tragedy,” said Huffman in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.
Many Americans see the confederate flag as a symbol of history and patriotism while others assure it represents racism, slavery and oppression dividing the opinions of many Americans of the true meaning of the flag.
Responses to the amendment came in a private manner. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland from the republican party issued statements linking the ban of the battle flag to terrorist movements from the Islamic State.
Westmoreland issued a warning message before the voting took place on Thursday where she strongly defended her point of view on the flag, urging House members to vote against the amendment proposed by Huffman.
“You know who else supports destroying history so that they can advance their own agenda? ISIL. Don’t be like ISL. I urge you to vote NO,” reads the statement from Westmoreland.
Nearly a year ago, a mass shooting occurred in Charleston South Carolina, killing nine African Americans that belonged to a local church disrupting opinions on the confederate flag and its meaning.
Governor of the state Nikki Haley, who belongs to the Republican party, along with lawmakers, issued a statement and voted to remove the Confederate flag on top of the Capitol.
The Confederate flag has also been removed from the campus of the University of Mississippi and in Alabama.
Source: Washington Post