Letter: Darien neighbors question the act of displaying the Confederate flag; homeowner responds

To the Editor:

We learned through social media this week that a house in our town was prominently displaying a Confederate battle flag. In the wake of Aug. 12’s car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia that killed Heather Heyer, who was protesting the white supremacy and neo-Nazi rally held there, we question the motive of such an act given the intolerance and racism the Confederate flag has come to symbolize. We, too, would like to speak out. We wish to express our view that Darien should be a community with zero tolerance for hate. Whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent; whether you’re brown, black, or white; whether you’re Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, or of any other faith, we ask you to support us in recognizing our common humanity.
William and Holly Russell
Rob and Liz Werner
Cynthia and Tony Princi
Jon and Shannon Silsby
Maribeth and Art Sears
Allisson and Floris Van Dijkum
Shyamla Menon
Min Selkowitz
Caroline Luz

The Darien Times reached out to the alleged homeowner, who has asked to remain anonymous, and confirmed it was his home displaying the flag, and that the flag had been taken down. His response is below:

The purpose of hanging a Confederate flag was not to sympathize or show support Neo-Nazi /KKK /White supremacist/pro-slavery movements. It was an exercise of freedom of speech, and reflects how unhappy I find it that there is a small minority in this country that wants to ignore history. To quote of the brightest minds we have had in our government, Condoleeza Rice said on May 8 of this year: “When you start wiping out your history — sanitizing your history — to make you feel better, it’s a bad thing.”
If I wanted to hang a flag that symbolizes hatred and intolerance, I would have put up a flag of ISIS or “Black Lives Matter.” I don’t recall Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. expressing outrage over statues and historical symbls during the Civil Rights movement.
I succeeded in that I “offended” someone by legally displaying something on my home.  I find it sad that there is actually a person who has enough time on his/her hands to write to the editor.  Maybe that is time better spent volunteering — Person to Person, religious organizations, Meals on Wheels, the Darien Senior Center, etc. can all use help I am sure.
I say to that person, worry about what goes on in your own home.  If you don’t like it, don’t look at it.