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From: Stewart, Bion B CAPT
Subject: Prohibition of Public Display or Depiction of Divisive Symbols in the Coast Guard
I believe many of you have seen the attached ALCOAST regarding the prohibition of divisive symbols in the Coast Guard. If you have not yet seen the ALCOAST, please read the attached and adhere to the direction provided therein.
This ALCOAST codifies the designation of the Confederate Battle Flag as a divisive symbol. I know we have all watched and experienced the unfolding of the debate over the Confederate flag in the public square for several months now, but the reality is the issue of what the Confederate flag represents in our history as a nation has been going on for decades. Symbols such as flags, banners, murals, statues, icons, etc… be they religious, political, nationalistic, historical or societal in nature can have powerful impacts on us. They can be seen as symbols of unity and symbols of division, and as we have seen throughout our history, there is often disagreement in what a symbol may mean to each one of us based on our experiences, origins, affiliations and ideologies. As a member of the Coast Guard we celebrate our diversity and the uniquely individual qualities, ideas, beliefs and talents each of us contributes to our Service; but first and foremost our most important responsibility to each other is to break down walls of division and uphold our tradition of unity and mutual respect. This ALCOAST reaffirms that commitment we all make to be inclusive and respectful to each and every one of our shipmates.