When I first moved to the Lowcountry of South Carolina, the burning controversy over the confederate flag atop the State House was in hot debate. As a Northerner, having grown up and lived in New York City for my entire life, the whole issue was just bizarre. The word heritage was being thrown around too easily by those who defended the old battle flag, with no real attempt to describe what that heritage really was. This set me off on a journey to see what I could find. I concentrated on the 90 miles or so between the vacation mecca of Myrtle Beach and the historic city of Charleston, where the first shots of the Civil War rang out. Across this coastal landscape, I discovered a rich heritage of natural, human and American history.
Through this journey, I’ve found that heritage cannot be defined by a flag. To believe so is to ignore the grander scheme of things. Nature, geography and culture have, over time, woven a rich tapestry, much like the complicated patterns of a sweet grass basket. Taken together, a stronger picture of what heritage really is comes into view.
Finally, heritage can be described by great accomplishment, but only if it also means accepting and embracing the mistakes made along the way.