(Newsweek) It was April 1865 and the Union had just declared victory. A rebel soldier with the 9th Virginia Cavalry was preparing to hand over his weapons. He kept only the clothes on his back and, in a final act of rebellion, hid a Confederate battle flag by tying it around his torso. Over a century later, the flag, deemed one of the rarest relics from the Civil War, sold for $82,000 at auction.
For years, the Confederate flag has served as a powerful symbol, one that’s meant wildly different things to different folks. For some, it harks back to the old South, for others it’s a reminder of the sanctity of states’ rights. For memorabilia enthusiasts, the flag is an intriguing antiquity, while for another ilk it’s a decal to put atop a Dodge Charger that proudly proclaims membership in Redneck Nation.