ARLINGTON, Va. — The United States Marine Corps has ordered the removal of the Confederate battle flag from all public displays within the entire force.
The USMC made the declaration on Friday via Twitter and through a Marine Administrative Message (MARADMIN). Commanders will identify and remove the display of the Confederate battle flag or its depiction within workplaces, common-access areas and public areas on their installations.
"The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racists groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps. Our history as a nation and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has had in our society. This presents a threat to our core values, unit cohesion, security, and good order and discipline. This must be addressed The Marine Corps shall remove the confederate battle flag from all installation public spaces and work areas in order to support our core values, ensure unit cohesion and security, and preserve good order and discipline."
This also includes the depiction of the flag on:
- Bumper stickers
The USMC defines the Confederate battle flag as the flag carried by the Confederate armies during the Civil War, most notable by the army of Northern Virginia, but was also carried by other Confederate States' armies.
"We are a warfighting organization, an elite institution of warriors who depend on each other to win the tough battles," Commandant of the USMC Gen. David Berger said back in April. "Anything that divides us, anything that threatens team cohesion must be addressed head-on."
The directive will not apply to the National Museum of the Marine Corps (NMMC), or the Museums at MCRD San Diego, MCRD Parris Island or on any other installations which address the Civil War from a neutral, historical or educational perspective, and are the appropriate venues for such symbols. It also won't apply to a Corpsman's personal possessions.
It also doesn't apply to:
- Displays where the Confederate battle flag is depicted, but not the main focus of the display
- Works of art and educational displays where the flag is present, but not the main focus of the work
- State flags which incorporate the flag
- State issued license plates with the depiction of the flag
- Confederate soldiers' grave sites
"Current events are a stark reminder that it is not enough for us to remove symbols that cause division – rather, we also must strive to eliminate division itself," Gen. Berger said on Wednesday. "The trust Marines place in one another on a daily basis demands this. Only as a unified force, free from discrimination, racial inequality, and prejudice can we fully demonstrate our core values, and serve as the elite warfighting organization America requires and expects us to be."