A fascinating category of items with a typically smaller, more tightly-knit group of collectors, is battle flags. Also known as a war flag, military flag or sometimes standard, battle flags are generally a variant of a country’s official flag created for use by its military forces while on land. The use of battle flags is becoming obsolete with most forces choosing to utilize the standard national flag of their country instead. The use of battle flags, for use as field signs, dates back as far as the Bronze Age. History shows that the use of battle flags was particularly prevalent during medieval times. Battle flags can sometimes attract the ire of protestors, as in the case of the Confederate battle flag that flew at South Carolina’s statehouse until it was removed following decades of unrest. Seen as a racist symbol, tension gradually mounted over the years but came to a head following the murder of nine people in a church in Charleston. The flag was retired, with dignity, from the statehouse on July 10, 2015 and presented to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum in Columbia. South Carolina’s then Republican governor Nikki Haley said on the Today Show after ordering the removal of the controversial flag, “It’s a great day in South Carolina. We honor tradition, we honor history, we honor heritage. But there’s a place for that flag and that flag needs to be in a museum where we can be sure people honor it appropriately.”
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