Ending the Display of Confederate Flags at Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, Wisconsin

August 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

The City of Madison is concerned about the display of Confederate flags in the Confederate Rest Section of the Forest Hill Cemetery in a City of Madison park.

The current policy created in 2001 permits the display of the Confederate national flag (but not battle flag) on the park’s flagpole in the Confederate Rest Section and small Confederate flags on individual graves on U.S. Memorial Day only .

The City of Madison may be seeking way to reduce that display further.

Confederate Rest Section, Forest Hill Cemetery, Madison, Wisconsin

USA flag in front of the flagpole placed by Leonard H. Cizewski. In his opinion is the only flag which should be displayed there.

Photo by Leonard H. Cizewski

The National Park Service and the National Cemeteries Administration of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs do not allow Confederate flags on flagpoles in Confederate rest sections in the cemeteries they administer.

In 2002 the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court case that supported the policy of the Federal agencies.

Military cemeteries around the world where former enemies are buried only permit the flying of current national flags. Former national flags or battle flags of former enemy nations are not permitted.

For example in France at the WWI and WWII military cemeteries of France’s former enemy Germany the current German national flag is flown but not the WWI or WWII era German national flags or battle flags.

Mont de Husines WWII German Military Cemetery, Normandy, France.

Flags from left to right: European Union (behind the tree), France, German Federal Republic (adopted post-WWII in 1949), and the German War Graves Commission.

Photo © 2014 Cheryl A. Robinson

Germans today do not need to display Germany’s WWII national flag nor the unit or battle flags under which their war dead served to remember and honor their dead.

Descendents of the Confederate dead and others do not need to use the Confederate battle flag to honor their dead.

The Confederate Rest Section of Forest Hill Cemetery also includes a marker installed in 1981 with a crossed Confederate battle flags.

Crossed Confederate battle flags on plaque on 1981 stone marker in front of the Confederate Rest Section, Forest Hill Cemetery, Madison, Wisconsin

Photo by Leonard H. Cizewski

The official name of their unit was the 1st Alabama, Tennessee, & Mississippi Infantry Regiment (not the 1st Alabama).

They were captured at Fort Bankhead at New Madrid, Missouri as part of the Union campaign to capture Island Number 10, Missouri in the Mississippi River. They were not captured on Island Number 10.

A more appropriate image would be outline maps of Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, the home states of the deceased; Missouri with a marker indicating where they served and were captured; and Wisconsin with a marker indicating where they were imprisoned, died, and are buried.

Confederate flags will continue to be displayed in Madison

People who wish to view Confederate flags may do so at the nearby Wisconsin Veterans Museum on the Capitol Square. Confederate flags are exhibited in their historical context, the most appropriate way for them to be continued to be displayed.

Captured Confederate Flags at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Public domain image.

On Wednesday, July 15, 2015, I spoke to the Madison Board of Park Commissioners. Prior to the I sent email to Commissioner my alderwoman Marsha Rummel, commissioner David Wallner, and park superintendent Eric Knepp.

One of our greatest generals and former Republican president Ulysses S. Grant said the cause Confederate flags represent, “…was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought”.

Links, sources, and more information:

Will Confederate flag still fly at Madison cemetery?  by Nico Savidge | Wisconsin State Journal, June 29, 2015

Patrick J. GRIFFIN, III v. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, et al. United States District Court, D. Maryland. January 29, 2001. Appeals court ruling that supported the policy of the Federal agencies to prohibit Confederate flags in national cemeteries. The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal.

Captured Confederate Flags at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum


Jeff Spitzer-Resnick, Cheryl A. Robinson, and Marshall Begel who assisted in the research and drafting of my email and remarks.

Carol Barry and her daughter Annie (Barry) Frederick and Marshall Begel who listened to the rehearsals of my Board of Parks remarks.

In depth historical background and context are occasional features of my family history blogs.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5YuOj-2l


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