No, really. This catch by historian Peter Shulman from the Portland Oregonian will seem very familiar in light of recent events (image below the fold; boldface mine):
Major I.B. Brown, deputy secretary of internal affairs of this state, and a prominent man in Grand Army circles, made a public statement yesterday that it was he who stole the Confederate flag from the Andrews’ locomotive at the world’s fair. He said in explanation:
“I did not feel like returning to the comrades of my post to tell them that I had seen a Confederate flag on the locomotive without at least attempting to tear it down. I have no particular hostility to the men who carried the flag during the war, but why 28 years after the war any one would deliberately display a flag in the loyal state of Illinois, or indeed anywhere else, which never did and never can mean anything but treason, rebellion, and human slavery, I could not understand. I’ve learned since that it is claimed the flag was simply hoisted as a relic. We can get along without any exhibitions of such relics. There are enough Union soldiers with empty sleeves, wooden legs, crutches, and shattered constitutions to answer any reasonable demand for relics. The relic claim is hard to believe. I think the flag was placed in defiance of the patriotic sentiment that ought to find a place in the heart of every loyal citizen, and such belief compelled me to take it down, which I did Friday afternoon, at 5:55 o’clock. ‘One country, one flag’ is a good motto for all citizens.
Major Brown has the flag in his possession and will present it to the Grand Army post at Correy.
It is worth noting that Major Brown was not arrested for his actions, nor did the article refer to this as vandalism.
It is also worth noting that this article was published on Oct 19, 1893.