Marine Corps bans display of Confederate flag, including clothing, bumper stickers

Marine Corps bans display of Confederate flag, including clothing, bumper stickers
The Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego Color Guard participates in an annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery on May 25, 2020. (Source: U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Zachary Beatty)

(Gray News) - The U.S. Marine Corps has banned the Confederate battle flag from public display on its bases in light of its divisive nature and use by racist groups.

In guidance released Friday, the Marine Corps said the Confederate battle flag should be removed from workplaces, common-access and public areas in order to “support our core values, ensure unit cohesion and security, and preserve good order and discipline.”

Among other items, the order applies to car bumper stickers, clothing, mugs and posters depicting the flag that may be on bases.

“The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps,” said social media posts releasing the new guidance.

The guidance follows an April 2020 statement in which Gen. David H. Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, said the Confederate flag should be removed from public displays on bases.

“I am mindful that many people believe that flag to be a symbol of heritage or regional pride. But I am also mindful of the feelings of pain and rejection of those who inherited the cultural memory and present effects of the scourge of slavery in our country,” wrote Berger in the statement. “This symbol has shown it has the power to inflame feelings of division. I cannot have that division inside our Corps.”

The guidance for removal does not apply to installations that address the Civil War from a historical or educational perspective nor works of art where the Confederate flag is present but not the main focus. It also does not apply to Confederate soldiers’ grave sites.

Confederate symbols have recently been coming down in the South amid protests over George Floyd’s death on May 25 at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

The Marine Corps addressed these current events in a June 3 message from Berger that encouraged conversations and active listening between commanders and their Marines and Sailors.

“Only as a unified force, free from discrimination, racial inequality, and prejudice can we fully demonstrate our core values, and serve as the elite warfighting organization America requires and expects us to be,” wrote Berger in the statement.

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