June 20, 2017 § Leave a comment
City of Madison (Wisconsin) Parks ended the display of Confederate flags at the Confederate Rest Section of the Forest Hill Cemetery by:
1. Removing the flagpole from the Confederate Rest Section where the Confederate flag had been permitted to be displayed once per year and on individual graves.
2. On May 10, 2017 the Board of Parks Commissioners unanimously revised the Cemetery Rules & Regulations to permit the display on graves or the cemetery flagpole of:
- The current flag of the United States of America;
- Flags of the United States Armed Forces (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, or Navy)
- The Wisconsin State Flag;
- The City of Madison Flag; and,
- Recognized flags of current United Nations members.
Many options are available under the revised Madison Parks policy to decorate the Confederate graves. For example, on May 28, 2016 they were decorated with traditional red corn poppies and the current flag of the U.S.
Red corn poppies on the Confederate graves. Current flag of the U.S. placed by Marshall Begel and Leonard Cizewski in front of the flagpole which has since been removed.
Photo by Leonard H. Cizewski
Decorating Confederate graves with flowers is also consistent with the earliest post Civil War traditions of “Decoration Day” where flowers were placed on graves of both Confederate and Union dead. Confederate flags.
People have been working on this issue for at least 20 years.
Among those whose most recent efforts result in this success are:
My Alder Marsha Rummel who requested that our city attorney review the issue.
City attorney Michael May whose opinion provided the legal basis for the Madison Parks’ actions.
Alder Alder Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, whose district includes the cemetery, followed up with Madison Parks.
Parks superintendent Eric Knepp who worked with us on the issue for almost two years.
Carol Barry, Marshall Begel, Annie (Barry) Frederick, Cheryl Robinson, Jeff Spitzer-Resnick, and others provided support that included encouragement to continue my advocacy on this issue, research assistance proofreading and editing of my writing and remarks, and being my audience for my rehearsals of my Board of Parks remarks.
The late Anson Croman of the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment, my wife Cheryl Robinson’s 2nd great-grandfather and my son Eli Cizewski-Robinson’s 3rd great-grandfather)Cheryl Robinson’s 2nd great-grandfather. Advocating for this issue continues the struggle for which he fought in the Civil War
Maise Brown of Jackson, Mississippi who’s much more difficult effort to remove the Confederate battle flag from her state’s flag inspired me to continue my advocacy:
In the Spring of 2016, Cheryl Robinson and I visited sites in Mississippi where Anson Croman served in the 20th Michigan during the Vicksburg Campaign. That included Jackson, Mississippi which after the surrender of Vicksburg, was temporarily liberated by Union troops including the 20th Michigan.
While in Jackson we read Maisie op-ed, “The ‘Cloth on the Stick’ Represents Hatred Toward Me,”
We connected and have been friends and supporters since.
Documents on Scribd:
Update on Confederate Flag Display in Madison Park May 27, 2016
International Practice Supports Ban on Confederate National Flag January 5, 2016
Sources and More Information:
Department of Veterans Affairs: Memorial Day History
Snopes: The Origins of Memorial Day
Historical background and connections to current events are occasional features of my family history blogs.