This column is due before I return from vacation, an intended exile from national news, but it isn't working. As I sit on the porch of a cabin in Estes Park, Colo., sipping coffee, I watch clouds and weather generated by the massive height of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and I endure a mid-afternoon hail storm.

This column is due before I return from vacation, an intended exile from national news, but it isn't working.  As I sit on the porch of a cabin in Estes Park, Colo., sipping coffee, I watch clouds and weather generated by the massive height of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and I endure a mid-afternoon hail storm. 
So far I've seen a massive bull elk with a huge rack wander by the cabin, followed by a flock of wild turkeys, four hens and ten poults.  On a morning walk I watched a Bald eagle, the emblem of American freedom, fishing in a lake.  Renewing, but also a reminder.
Even here, national news events keep competing for my attention.  Rocky Mountain National Park is a gem in our national parks system.  Despite the lack of a television, I do have wifi, and my cell phone pings constantly with updates of news.  I read that 29 of our national parks and monuments are under “evaluation” by our current Department of the Interior as targets for allowing mining and oil exploration. 
This must not be allowed.  These pristine lands are refuges for the very elk and turkeys and eagles that make critical links in our food chains.  As naturalist John Muir said, everything is connected.  We learned decades ago that loss of habitat and species creates a domino effect that we cannot control.
Another event that I can't escape is the aftermath of the Charlotte demonstration.  I try to avoid being overtly political in my columns, but I must take a stand here.  Even in our corner of  Missouri we see occasional demonstrations from a very few local residents who fly a Confederate battle flag or display window or bumper stickers. 
Seldom is there an American flag along side, which says a great deal.  Often these persons claim the battle flag is an historical artifact related to “heritage.”  Those people should read some of the history of the flag.

No one knows for certain who designed the original Confederate national flag.  It went through several modifications beginning with a circle of seven stars on red and white bars on March 4, 1861, then to nine stars and then 11 and 13.  Another version with the familiar “southern cross” in the corner in place of the stars was designed on a white background in 1863. 
During the process of design, collaborator William Thompson said, "(a)s a people, we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause. Upon a red field would stand forth our Southern cross, Gemmed, preserving in beautiful contrast the red white and blue."  But that isn't the flag we see today.  The “southern cross” alone without the white was used by the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of Tennessee in 1863 as a battle flag, never a Confederate national flag.
There is no “heritage” in today's Confederate flag because it was never used by the confederacy, only as a battle flag by two states.  The confederacy amounted to only two percent of our total American history, and less than half the country, so call it one percent.  The only heritage is the intent and statement from those who continue to use it. 
Today's battle flag, along with all the original confederate national flag versions do not belong on the back of pickup trucks, in windows or on bumpers.  They belong in museums as a reminder of the mistakes we made in failing to recognize that “all men are created equal.”

Mike Davis writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.