Southern Pride Parade – In Defiance of Erasing History
Ocala, Florida – The 17 mile Southern Pride parade had an 8 mile long, 1,500 vehicle/bike convoy of Confederate Battle Flag supporters on Sunday. At least six shots were fired in protest of the parade, but no one was injured.
“That flag has a lot of different meanings to a lot of different people. It doesn’t symbolize hate unless you think it’s hate – and that’s your problem, not mine.” David Stone, 38, ride organizer
Around 4,500 people came to the ride from as far away as California. Their purpose? To protest the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from government buildings across the south. They were led through Ocala by a replica of the General Lee car from the Dukes of Hazzard.
A last minute change was made to the route of the parade, which would have taken them through a predominantly Black neighborhood where people were seriously opposed to the ride. The shots that were fired occurred at the beginning of the parade, near the Livestock pavilion. Residents of that area insisted they didn’t do it and blamed the parade participants. Police stated that the event was largely peaceful.
In Florida, a demand was made by a Marion County administrator to remove the Confederate flag from the Ocala government complex. That decision was overturned by cooler heads in the county government.
The Daily Mail reported,
But supporters of the flag claim it is an honorable symbol of regional pride – a mark of respect for Southern soldiers who died in the American Civil War.
‘A backlash is beginning,’ said Ben Jones, a spokesman for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which represents 30,000 descendants of Confederate soldiers. ‘We are putting flags out. Everyone time one is taken down, we put five or six of them up.’
Southern soldiers were officially listed as veterans in 1958 by act of US Congress. Denying them dignity solves nothing, and destroys the fabric of history.
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) July 13, 2015