The following quote is from a newspaper article which you can read in full at http://www.theledger.com/article/20060122/news/601220429?tc=ar
The beginning [of] What is now called the Confederate flag was never the official banner of the Confederate States of America, whose secession prompted the Civil War.
It was actually a battle flag first used in 1861 by the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Gen. Robert E. Lee. Other military units followed suit, and eventually the flag — a diagonal blue cross inlaid with white stars against a red field — became the de facto battle flag of the Confederate army. Troops fought under a square flag. The rectangular version now familiar to us was employed by the Confederate Navy and known as the “naval jack.”
The cross [on the flag]
The blue cross, also known as a “saltire,” derives from the St. Andrews cross, the main element of Scotland’s national flag. According to legend, the first century Christian martyr St. Andrew considered himself unworthy to be executed in the same manner as Jesus and convinced his Roman executioners to use a different cross for his crucifixion. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and the saltire in the Confederate battle flag reflects the Scottish ancestry of many [American] Southerners.
The stars [on the flag]
The flag’s 13 white stars signify the 11 Confederate states — South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee — plus allies Kentucky and Missouri.
The memorials [ceremonies]
For several decades after the Civil War, the Confederate battle flag was seen mostly at memorial ceremonies for Southern soldiers. About 1920, though, the flag took on a more cultural meaning.
Students at the University of Alabama brandished the flag to celebrate a football victory over the University of Washington in 1926. Fans of other Southern schools — most notably the University of Mississippi — soon adopted the flag as an unofficial pennant. Historian John M. Coski reports the University of Florida adopted an orange-and-blue version of the Confederate banner as its official flag in 1952. [the flag was also displayed a the University of Missouri when I attended this school]
Southerners serving overseas during World War II displayed the flag to project regional identity. Around the same time, the Ku Klux Klan adopted the flag as a symbol of its quest for white domination. Southern politicians, such as Strom Thurmond, a 1948 candidate for president from the Dixiecrat Party, also employed the flag as a totem of resistance to forced racial integration.
The official flags of Florida and some other Southern states include versions of the St. Andrew’s cross. Florida Gov. William Bloxham, a Confederate veteran, successfully urged the Legislature to add the saltire to an existing state flag in 1900, but it’s not clear if the new design was based on the Confederate flag.
The flag and the law
Florida statutes protect the Confederate flag and its replicas from desecration “by word or act.” The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected similar laws protecting the American flag from burning or mutilation as unconstitutional. Randall Marshall, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said he knows of no attempted prosecutions under the law protecting the Confederate flag. Florida law also forbids the depiction of the flag for commercial gain, but that law is rarely if ever enforced.
Sources: “The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem”; Ledger research by Gary White
In my humble opinion, Black Lives do Matter, but not to the extent that white people must give up their history and traditions.