Confederate flags restored at Hot Springs, SD Veterans Hospital

The Rapid City Journal reports:

“Two Confederate flags taken down last week after complaints that they were racist have been restored to their place in a historical display at the VA Medical Center in Hot Springs.

The African-American veterans who lodged the complaint had just left Hot Springs when they learned Tuesday that Veterans Administration officials had decided to again display the flags because they represented an important part of U.S. history and conveyed respect for veterans’ service.

“Wow! You got to be kidding me. They’re back up already?” Desert Storm veteran Craig DeMouchette said while waiting for his bus to Denver in the Rapid City depot. “They waited until I was gone and put them back up? I can’t believe it.”

DeMouchette said the timing of events could not have been a coincidence.

A few days after he and fellow veteran Kameron Mitchell of Lincoln, Neb., had raised the flag issue, they were told by VA officials they could leave their PTSD-treatment program at the Medical Center more than two weeks early, with full credit.

Both veterans contend that the early out was intended to get rid of them and defuse the flag controversy. And not long after they left, VA Black Hills Health System officials announced Tuesday they would return the flags to the display in the Medical Center rotunda.

They didn’t waste any time, either.

DeMouchette said the flags were not back up by around 2 p.m. when he left on a shuttle for Rapid City on the first leg of his trip home to Denver. And hour and half later, a VA official confirmed to the Journal that the flags were back up.

Steve DiStasio, director of the VA Black Hills Health System, said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon that the flags were being returned to the historic “Freedom Shrine” in the rotunda “as “a reflection of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for America.”

The flags were taken down by VA officials last Wednesday, a day after DeMouchette and Mitchell complained. DiStasio said then he would take some time and meet with veterans in Hot Springs before deciding his next move.

DiStasio said Tuesday he met with DeMouchette and others before deciding the flags should go back up.

“The original purpose of the VA’s Hot Springs facility was for the care of Civil War veterans,” he said. “Out of respect for all of our nation’s veterans, from every battle in history, we will maintain the historic Freedom Shrine in its entirety.”

Not if DeMouchette has anything to say about it.

And he plans to say plenty. The 49-year-old veteran has already contacted a member of the Colorado congressional delegation and plans to start organizing to get the flags removed – again.

“I understand they have historical value. That’s fine,” he said. “But these flags belong in a museum, not an active government building that treats veterans, some of them African-American.”

DeMouchette said there were mixed views on the Confederate flags among veterans in Hot Springs for PTSD treatment. Some spoke in their defense, but others, including white veterans, were troubled by the flags, he said.

Only Union veterans of the Civil War were treated in Hot Springs. But the Confederate flags are part of an eight-flag hanging display that was purchased and installed by the Rapid City Exchange Club and had been in the rotunda since 1995.” Read More by Clicking this Link

Craig DeMouchette displays his certificate of completion for a PTSD treatment course at the VA clinic in Hot Springs. The certificate is dated May 2, 2013, but he was discharged nine days earlier. He raised concerns that two Confederate flags in the rotunda are offensive and should be taken down. Less than a few hours after he was discharged, officials returned the flags to their original positions. Photo from Rapid City Journal

Let’s just state the obvious. It looks that if the only ones complaining about the flag display are two African- Americans. Don’t get me wrong, I would be just as angry over this if it was two European-American ( as long as we’re hyphenating races) liberals but in this case they are African-American so let’s argue their points.

At any point in this whole story did DeMouchette say he went untreated, was mistreated or receive inadequate treatment from the VA hospital?

No, he has never said that, in fact, judging by the picture of him holding his “Certificate of Achievement” he looks damn happy.

The ultimate question is this; Is he the type of veteran who comes back and states that “he was fighting for our freedom”?

We don’t know because the story doesn’t state that, but  IF he is we have to ask; Who’s freedom? White, Black , Hispanic, Asian? Or just Black?

As long as I am asking questions here are a few more that I have for Craig DeMouchette:

Do you celebrate Black History Month? Do you celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Do you believe that these “holidays” should be mandatory for all ( as they already are)?

You say the Confederate flags belong in a museum, which by the way is a popular solution among liberals ( until they are moved to the museum at which time they protest the flags presence in the museum).

I’ve got a solution to some problems too. “Some” might feel offended by the mandatory recognition of Black History Month and MLK day. How about we move Black History to a museum along with MLK where they belong and won’t offend anyone and while we’re at it, we need to change all of the streets, avenues, boulevards etc., who have been named after MLK back to more “universal” less “controversial” names such as First Street, Mulberry, Main etc.

Does that sound okay to you Craig DeMouchette?

The point is that for once, just once the VA got it right and restored the flags to their historical place of honor.  There is just one more point I would like to make and that is this: There are a hell of alot of vets out their right now ( of all races) who are not being treated as well as you were treated at hot springs and who would give anything to trade their problems with you.

Instead of fighting the VA in Hot Springs , SD,  maybe you should take that time , effort  and money and help some of your fellow veterans out in Colorado? – Editor

About aldermanlacy

I am just an average blue collar American who works hard and tries to be a good dad. I have a passion for history, music and freedom.

2 Responses to “Confederate flags restored at Hot Springs, SD Veterans Hospital”

  1. I agree 100% with the author of this article. I’m a VietNam vet and a 23 year Air Force veteran, MSgt. (Ret.). I get really sick of black people trying to erase white people from history with cries of racism at everything they can shake a stick at. The flags are part of our history, and they are American flags, like it or not…that’s your problem. Two of my direct ancestors were in the Union Army during the Civil War and both wounded, they spilled blood to free the slaves, and I’m not offended that Confederate flags are displayed at all. The southerners were brave and honorable opponents, and they do deserve recognition as such. It’s people like DeMouchette that makes me wonder if the wrong side won. I don’t have any reason to celebrate MLK day, but I don’t demand others don’t do it to honor him if they want to. Mutual respect of others isn’t a one way street.

    • James ,
      Thank You for visiting and your comment. It would be a better country if more people were like you.

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