The history of what you ‘think’ is the Confederate flag

Protesters hold a sign during a rally to take down the Confederate flag at the South Carolina Statehouse, Tuesday, June 23, 2015 in Columbia. People from several southern states have protested placing the flag and Confederate icons on state grounds after last week’s shooting in Charleston, South Carolina that left nine black parishioners dead at the hands from a self-proclaimed white supremacist. (Rainier Ehrhardt/AP)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Flying the Confederate flag has been a topic of debate across the country. What it represents depends on who you ask. But 22News discovered that what you think is the Confederate Flag, actually is not.

Created in 1861, what is commonly referred to as the “Confederate Flag” is historically not the Confederate Flag at all.

Nicknamed the ‘Stars and Bars,’ the actual flag that represented the confederacy during the Civil War had three stripes, and a circle of 13 stars.

The flag that’s been generating so much controversy is actually the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

As for the history of the stars and stripes, the first American Flag was made in 1776. The design has changed over the years but the meaning has not. The 50 stars signifying the 50 United States. The colors also have meaning. The red signifies valor. The white is innocence and purity and the blue is justice.

For some, the Confederate Flag represents nothing more than southern culture and an important period in our nation’s history.

“It was hanging for how many years and then all of a sudden this thing happened and they want to take it down. I don’t think they should,” said Matthew Wekerle of Stafford Springs, Connecticut.

For others, it signifies hate, treason, rebellion, slavery and racism.

“Today marks the end of an era of racism and injustice. People have the right to display it privately but it cannot be and should not be on any government property,” said Juan Rivera of Westfield.

Also called the Rebel flag, Dixie flag or Southern Cross, five states have laws against its desecration.

The Confederate States of America had two national flags during their existence from 1861 to 1865.

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