History lesson: the South did not fight for "freedom". The white men of the South fought for the right to enslave others. And thank God Almighty, they lost. Over a hundred years ago.
The Confederate flag never stood for freedom and justice for all. It never stood for respect for all men regardless of race, color, creed, or origin. It stood for slavery. It stood for bigotry. It stood and stands for racism, for rape, for lynching black men, for burning crosses on lawns, for burning churches, for cowards that put sheets over their heads because they know--they know perfectly well--that they need to hide their faces when they do their evil deeds.
There were indeed brave men who fought for the Confederacy. Gallant men. Men who believed in what they fought for. But in honoring their courage--which I do not doubt--we must also face their shame. They not only lost a war, they should have lost that war, because they were fighting for the wrong things. They fought against freedom. They fought against justice. They fought against "All men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," the very reasons which had brought this nation to birth in the Revolution. They fought for a lie, the lie that one race is more human--more endowed by God with these rights--than another.
It is utterly impossible to mention, let alone celebrate, "Confederate history" without putting the issues of racism, slavery, bigotry front and center.
I am glad that Virginia's governor admitted he'd made a blunder. But I am sorry that anyone in authority in this nation--at any level--could make such a blunder in the first place.