US Forces Korea bans public display of Confederate flag
The Army general in charge of U.S. forces on the Korean peninsula has banned the display of the Confederate battle flag, joining a number of other U.S. military organizations in making the move.
In a memo Monday, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) commander Gen. Robert Abrams wrote the flag “does not represent the values of U.S. Forces” in Korea.
“While I acknowledge some might view it as a symbol of regional pride, many others in our force see it as a painful reminder of hate, bigotry, treason, and devaluation of humanity,” Abrams wrote.
“Regardless of perspective, one thing is clear: it has the power to inflame feelings of racial division,” he continued. “We cannot have that division among us.”
Because it is his job to ensure good order and discipline, he added, “effective immediately, I direct all commanders to identify and ensure the removal of all display of the Confederate battle flag or its depiction within work places, common-access areas and public areas on USFK installations.”
USFK Memo prohibiting the Confederate Battle Flag: Effective immediately, the Confederate Battle Flag or its depiction within USFK installation work places, common-access areas, public areas, building exteriors, personal clothing or vehicle bumper stickers is NOT authorized. pic.twitter.com/bOLHdjAQ3M
— U.S. Forces Korea (@USForcesKorea) June 15, 2020
The order applies to all service members, family members, civilian workers, retirees, contractors and anyone else with access to USFK bases, according to the memo.
The ban includes displays of the flag on clothing and bumper stickers but does not include displays where the flag is in the background as a piece of art or historical exhibit about the Civil War or a state flag that incorporates the Confederate flag, according to the memo.
Abrams’s order comes as the U.S. military, and the United States at large, confronts the issue of monuments that honor the Confederacy in the midst of nationwide protests against police violence and racial injustice.
The protests were sparked by last month’s death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in Minneapolis police custody when an officer, now charged with second-degree murder, knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.
Amid the demonstrations, the Marine Corps officially banned the display of the Confederate battle flag after Commandant Gen. David Berger said the service would earlier this year. The Navy has said it will follow suit.
Meanwhile, the Army said it was open to renaming its 10 bases that are named after Confederate leaders, but President Trump has pushed back, saying he would “not even consider” doing so.
The Senate Armed Services Committee, though, approved an amendment to its annual defense policy bill that would require the Pentagon to remove Confederate leaders’ names from assets, including the Army bases.
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