By Olivia Cornforth, OK

2751691807_dbcebbaa69_zRecently, much attention has surrounded the removal of Confederate flags from state grounds and merchandise resale centers across the country. Walmart, eBay and Amazon are among the corporations that removed products featuring the flag from their shelves, and the colors were taken down from flagpoles across the country. The place of the Confederate battle flag in modern America has been largely contested for years, but the current inflammation of the subject is largely attributed to this month’s tragic shooting in Charleston.

The controversy over the flag rests heavily on two opposing viewpoints. One side sees it as a glorification of the institution of slavery and other injustices, and the other sees it as a symbol of regional pride and dignity. The flag is prevalent in many areas of the southern United States and has been for generations.

“Personally, I find it offensive that the flags are still up,” LydiaPaige Moffett of Alabama said. “I feel like the flags should have gone down when the Confederates lost the war, not generations later. I think it’s a part of history, but I don’t think it’s a part of now.”

After the recent removal of the flag at the South Carolina Capitol by an equal rights activist, the debate on the flag’s position in society seems to be at the highest level it has been in years.

“I think it’s an important part of history,” Max Makin from Washington said. “I don’t know if it should be flown from a state Capitol building, but I think it’s an important part of the South and their regional pride, which they’ve had for a long time. So I’m not really sure where I stand on whether it should be flown, but I think it holds a lot of importance for a lot of people, and not necessarily because of the reasons many people associate it with.”

“I feel like it is celebrated as a regional pride way, but also it’s a symbol for racism and oppressive things,” Tyra Wilson of Alabama said. “If that equates with Southern pride, it’s bothersome to me.”

The controversy over the usage of the Confederate flag is not over, but hopefully our nation can find a balance between retaining regional pride and moving forward into the 21st century. It is always important to remember where we came from, but it is also important to remember where we are going. Now, it is America’s duty to determine if it wants the flag to hold a place in its future.