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Sons of Confederate Veterans denied permission to carry flags in parade

Posted: Nov 11, 2008
Reporter: Rob Pratt

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — One group showed up at the Knoxville veterans parade route carrying Confederate flags, upset over the fact they were denied permission to march with those flags in the parade.

Most people at the parade didn’t pay much attention to the small group with Confederate flags. But the decision to keep the Sons of Confederate Veterans and their flags out of the parade highlights a division so deep that even veterans who rode in the same car disagree.

Their flags are red-white-and blue, but these stars and stripes are different. The Sons of the Confederate Veterans group is different enough that they were not allowed to join the parade.

H.K. Edgerton says, “For these folks here in the City of Knoxville to deny the Sons of Confederate Veterans and here in the Southland of America the right to participate in the Veterans’ Day Parade is the worst thing I’ve ever known in my entire life.”

Edgerton is dressed the part, with Confederate grey from head to toe. He says the American Legion should have let the group honor veterans and their own history in this parade. A man who prefers to wear Union blue agrees. Paul Eastes, Sons of Union Veterans Group, says “I think that that’s wrong that they’re not allowed to be as part of this parade. You know I’m a member of the Sons of the Union Veterans and it’s a heritage thing. I’m against that sort of suppression.”

Others see it differently.

Richard Love, Navy Veteran, says “My concern was you need to go back to the basics of what a veteran is. A veteran is a person that defended the United States of America and served in that defense, all across the word. The Civil War was an internal skirmish, they weren’t truly veterans in my personal opinion.”

Fred Baker, Love’s fellow Navy Veteran, disagrees, “I think they should have been allowed to march, because they were fighting for what their definition of America was. I mean, we were all Americans.”

Edgerton says this is about more than a parade, it’s about a people and their history which he feels is being neglected.

“It is time for a change, it is time for the southern people to have their honor returned to them that the federal government took.”

American Legion event chair, Mary Everett, told us that the only government flags allowed in the parade are those of the United States and the State of Tennessee. He says the Confederate group was told it could march, but would have to do so wihout the flags. He says the group refused to do that.

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