House Quietly Moves To Ban Confederate Flag From Federal Cemeteries

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

The backlash against the Confederate flag has quietly reached a federal level. 

The House voted today to prohibit the display on of Confederate flags on graves in federal cemeteries.  The National Park Service maintains 14 national cemeteries, most of which contain graves of Civil War soldiers. 

Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman of California introduced language to a spending bill that would block the park Service from allowing private groups to decorate graves with Confederate flags, the Associated Press reported. Though that has been the de-facto policy for some time, this measure would legally legitimize it, The Hill reported.

The measure required just two minutes of debate before being passed.

"The American Civil War was fought, in Abraham Lincoln's words, to 'save the last best hope of Earth,'" Huffman said in a debate in which he was the only speaker. "We can honor that history without celebrating the Confederate flag and all of the dreadful things that it symbolizes.”

The measure to ban Confederate flags from being displayed comes after the National Park Service announced a new policy that would prohibit new contracts to sell items featuring the Confederate flag in gift stores. 

Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York also introduced a third amendment that bans the National Park Service from buying or displaying Confederate flags unless they are used to provide historical context - it also passed.

Only four cemeteries, all in the deep South, will see any changes.

The Confederate flag is being lowered around the country following the murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17. Photos of the accused shooter, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, posing with the Confederate flag later surfaced online.

Sources: Associated Press, The Hill Image via NatalieMaynor/Flickr