It's amazing that for 150 years after the defeat of the pro-slavery Confederacy most of us white Americans have been near-oblivious to the offensiveness to black Americans inherent in the public display of this flag.
But it's equally amazing how suddenly our eyes were opened.
Within days of the tragic act in Charleston the cry of a few to take down this flag from the Charleston statehouse grew into a movement, and in response retailers across the country quickly pulled the flag along with other Confederate-theme memorabilia from their inventory, from major national chains like Walmart, Target, Sears and Amazon to small family-owned stores like The Flag Lady Flag Store here in Columbus.
But to me most amazing of all is how this sudden national awareness of the racist import of the Confederate flag cut across racial, geographic and political lines.
Who would have guessed that Southerners and their leaders could ever be so willing, so demanding to immediately reliquish this flag along with other monuments and symbols that once stood for Southern pride and solidarity? Who would have guessed that lawmakers from the South would be in the forefront in calling for the abolition of these icons from their own states?
Who would have dreamed 150 years ago that the flag that divided us as a nation would one day, in a moment of tragedy and grief, unite us?
And yet that day has arrived.
And I believe in my heart that if there's one thing that horrific act of violence in Charleston has made us realize is that, whatever our politics, no decent person in this country wants to live in a racist society. I believe that we, most of us, really do want to live in a land where the truth is held as self-evident that all people are created equal and entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I believe that is the land all good people desire to live in.
And who knows, maybe today with a clearer vision we'll start moving a little closer to that land.