Supporters of the flag that was designed to symbolize white supremacy claim the flag "doesn't represent hate" but instead represents "respect for Southern soldiers who died in the American Civil War" fighting to maintain the system of slavery.
|Kid Rock With the Confederate Flag on His Helmet: He became famous performing with rap stars but lately has decided that bigotry is where the money is. He was recently quoted saying anti-Confederate flag protesters should, "Kiss my ass." He's part of the backlash against taking down the slave flag. (Photo screen captured from YouTube video)|
‘Backlash is Beginning': Miles-long convoy of Confederate flag supporters rally in Florida
An eight-mile convoy of pickups, motorcycles and cars wound through a central Florida town on Sunday in a show of support for the Confederate flag, as a backlash against its banishment from public landmarks across the South picks up steam.
RELATED STORY: A White Supremacist Designed the Confederate Flag Symbol — Racist Fanatic Considered Flag an Emblem of 'White Superiority'Horns blared and hundreds of the rebel flags fluttered as more than 1,500 vehicles and some 4,500 people turned out for the “Florida Southern Pride Ride” in Ocala, according to police estimates. Vehicles from states across the South and as far away as California participated.
“That flag has a lot of different meanings to a lot of different people,” said David Stone, 38, who organized the event. “It doesn’t symbolize hate unless you think it’s hate — and that’s your problem, not mine.”
RELATED STORY: Confederate Flag Finally Being Delegitimized: WalMart, Apple, eBay, Amazon, Sears, Even NASCAR Want It GONEOrganizers announced the event as the South embarked on an emotional debate over the flag’s symbolism in the aftermath of the massacre of nine blacks by a white gunman in a Charleston church last month. The suspect in the church shootings had posed with the flag in photos posted on a website.
In South Carolina, lawmakers moved quickly to take the flag down from the statehouse grounds in Columbia, a longstanding demand of those who see it as a divisive symbol of the South’s pro-slavery legacy.
Alabama and scores of municipalities have take similar steps since the June 17 massacre.
But the national push to pull the controversial icon from stores and public displays is being met with determined resistance in some corners of the United States.
RELATED STORY: WARNING - Displaying or Waving the Confederate 'Slave' Flag Around Blacks Could Be Hazardous to Your Health (Video)Supporters such as those who drove through Ocala on Sunday insist the flag is a honorable symbol of regional pride, a mark of respect for Southern soldiers who died in the American Civil War.