The previous Commandant of the Marine Corps, retired Gen. Robert Neller, said that his failure to ban the Confederate flag while he was the top Marine was one he will regret for the rest of his life.
The article, posted on LinkedIn on Sunday, is the third post in June by the former commandant.
The first called on the nation’s leaders to address racism in the U.S., while the second re-imagined policing in America in the wake of George Floyd’s death by a Minneapolis police officer.
Neller’s latest letter on the social media site called on Americans to examine why they feel the need to display the “divisive” flag, especially while serving in America’s military.
The Confederacy fought with “courage and tactical skill,” Neller wrote, but what it fought for was slavery.
“The stars and bars. It represents a group of states that seceded from our Union in order to preserve the institution of slavery,” Neller wrote.
“Not to protect states’ rights or an economically based culture of a different region and its’ people, but quite simply the right to own another human being.”
Earlier in June, current Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger issued an order banning the public display of the Confederate battle flag on Marine Corps installations.
The U.S. Army is currently debating if it should rename bases named after Confederate generals.
The former commandant said he considered banning the public display of the flag during his time as the top Marine, but failed to do so for reasons he did not describe in the article.
“I failed to take this stand the reasons for which is another story but in reality, I failed,” Neller wrote. “I will regret that failure to act for as long as I live.”
“For those Americans not serving in the military who persist in flying this flag for whatever misguided reason, I will continue to support your right to do so on your property,” Neller said.
“But do not expect me to see you for anything else but someone who still supports the bondage and oppression of another human being who does not look like you,” he wrote.