Thousands Attend Rally to Support Confederate Flag in Ocala

Thousands Attend Rally to Support Confederate Flag in Ocala

Over 2000 cars and thousands of people gathered in Florida for a rally celebrating the Confederate Flag. Not messages of hatred, but messages asking that their heritage be celebrated. The event was being held to back a decision by Marion County in that area of central Florida to return the Confederate flag to a display outside its government complex.

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The Ocala Star-Banner reported that participants wore shirts with phrases including “heritage not hate” and talked of defending Southern traditions.

A replica of the General Lee car from “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV show led the procession.

One of the participants, Rick Hart, defended flying the Confederate flag: “It’s a history thing. The flag is also a military flag. It’s not a race symbol.”

Police told WFTV-TV at least six gunshots were fired from an apartment complex near the location where rally participants began their rides.

Residents of the predominately black neighborhood told the station that wasn’t the case and that not only were they harassed by rally participants, but also the shots came from rally participants.

“They come, they watch them run through on their motorcycles, running red lights and throwing beer bottles,” Ocala resident Jason Carter told WFTV. “The police didn’t stop them or nothing.”

The Florida rally came weeks after the shooting deaths of nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, that spurred a national debate about the flying of the Confederate flag. On Friday, South Carolina removed the flag from a flagpole near its Statehouse. The man charged in the Charleston shooting is shown in pictures with the Confederate flag and police say he was motivated by hate.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Congress are debating a measure to block the display of the flag at federal cemeteries.

This is still a flag, people. It cannot shoot a gun. It cannot kill anyone. It represents pride in southern heritage. There are plenty of things I do not like- but I am not going to walk into Burger King and tell them to take chicken fries off the menu. That isn’t how life in grown-up land works, kids. Can we just let them have their flag? Pretty sure those First Amendment rights you have been using to protest it belong to them too.

Written by Katie McGuire. Follow Katie on Twitter @GOPKatie, or email the author at katiefmcguire@gmail.com

McGuire

Writer, Blogger. Political aficionado. Addicted to all levels of government campaigns.

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