Marines no longer are allowed to wear or display images of the Confederate flag. In a recent letter addressed to all troops, the commandant – Gen. David H. Berger – ordered commanders “to identify and remove the Confederate flag or its depiction within work places, common-access areas, and public areas on their installations.”
Exceptions to the order would include depictions on artworks and historical displays relating to Civil War battles, state flags and license plates that incorporate the flag, and Confederate soldiers’ gravesites.
The major Marine Corps museums at Quantico, VA, San Diego, and Parris Island, SC, also are exempt. Other exceptions may arise as well. Commanders also are not required to inspect individual living quarters and barracks, desk or cabinet drawers, lockers, backpacks, private automobiles, or interiors of government-provided housing.
Otherwise, the flag cannot be displayed in “all areas in public or plain view,” the order stated. This would include outside areas of offices, stores or barracks, parking lots, front yards of government and private-venture housing, clothing and other apparel.
Mississippi is the only state to display the Confederate flag on its state flag.
The order was given in part as a reaction to the nationwide civil protest that arose after George Floyd, an African-American man, was killed May 25 by a Minneapolis police officer.
“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,” the Marines said in a statement published on social media.
“Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville [Virginia] in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate Battle Flag has had on our society. This presents a threat to our core values, unit cohesion, security, and good order and discipline. This must be addressed.”
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— David H. Berger (@CMC_MarineCorps) April 23, 2020