PALOS VERDES ESTATES (CBSLA) — A retired attorney and self-proclaimed historian is coming under fire again for raising a replica of the Confederate flag on his Palos Verdes Estates property, but he says he does it to honor the men who died during the Civil War and that the United States has not come to grips with its racist past.

Civil War expert Joe Ryan flies the Confederate flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, which has the names of the battles of Gettysburg, Sharpsburg, Cedar Mountain and Groveton in each quadrant, about four times a year, the Daily Breeze reported this week.

However, Ryan, who talks in depth about the Civil War on his YouTube channel and website, says the display is not meant to be racist.

“They’re responding to different flags and signals of which side is theirs and which side’s not, but they’re all Americans dying on the same battlefield,” Ryan told CBS2 News Wednesday. “We’re not facing our racism, let me put it to you that way.”

He says the reasons for Civil War were complicated, but that the conflict was rooted in racism.

“We’re pretending like the problem is solved,” said Ryan, who has lived in PVE for more than 40 years. He said that in that time, he’s only received one complaint about the flag.

Still, current neighbors don’t feel this is the way to address those issues.

“The Confederate flag, to me, is representative of a painful and hateful time in our society, one that I do not want to look to the past for but I want to move past,” said Cindy Dunbar.

“It’s not the time to put up that flag,” said another woman who wished to remain anonymous.

Civil War expert Joe Ryan flies the Confederate flag of the Army of Northern Virginia about four times a year. (SOURCE: CBS2)

The Daily Breeze reported the PVE City Manager began looking into the matter after the topic was brought up on the Nextdoor website.

Ryan said he doesn’t understand what the city would be looking into, since he is exercising his First Amendment right to free speech in raising both the Confederate flag and the American flag, the latter flying in the former’s place on the Fourth of July.

Ryan claimed he was already planning to retire the flag, but not because of any complaint; he said the flag is old and tattered.

  1. Brian Cook says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, I support this gentleman’s flying of the Confederate Battle Flag fully; that sacred banner is a military flag under which brave men fought and died for their country. Several of them were descendants of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Madison. This gentleman has flown the flag to commemorate the Battle of Gettysburg; Governor Patrick Henry’s great-grandson was a Confederate colonel who was wounded there in Pickett’s Charge under General Lee’s command.

    My cousin, John Echols, was a prominent Confederate general; he voted to secede from the Union as a member of the Virginia Secession Convention along with President Jefferson’s grandson, who later became a notable Confederate: he served as a general and as the secretary of war.

    General Patton, a native Californian, led America to victory in World War II; his father served as Los Angeles County District Attorney, and his grandfather was a Confederate colonel who was Cousin John’s right-hand officer during the war. President Jefferson’s great-grandnephew made the ultimate sacrifice under their command at the Battle of New Market; Colonel Patton made that same ultimate sacrifice not long after at the Third Battle of Winchester.

    Our Confederate ancestors were men of honor; that is the flag under which they answered the call of their country, in the same way that our Revolutionary ancestors did. It’s about their military honor, folks; it’s just that simple. We never should forget it.

    The Golden State has a very rich history; I think you folks out there in Los Angeles just don’t even know that. It required much courage for your state to be settled and to be founded; respect for that history includes Confederate history, as I have shown. Instead of criticizing this gentleman, you all ought to be thanking him for his willingness to preserve our history; I hope you all do that from here on out.

    “Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children & descendants as those of the eastern, and I feel myself as much identified with that country, in future time, as with this; and did I now foresee a separation at some future day, yet I should feel the duty & the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family which should fall within my power.” — United States President Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Joseph Priestley, Sunday, January 29, 1804