ALPHARETTA, Ga. — The Sons of Confederate Veterans is criticizing a decision that banned their group from flying the Confederate battle flag in a weekend parade in Alpharetta. The decision by city officials has sparked controversy.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans group said the Confederate flag is part of their heritage and the heritage of Confederate veterans. The city, however, said the flag is too divisive.
The Old Soldiers Parade originally was dedicated to soldiers of the Civil War, but it evolved into a tribute to all veterans.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans have always participated, but this year, members were told to leave their Confederate battle flags home.
In a letter to the organization, an official said the city would maintain its decision to not allow the Confederate battle flag in the parade.
The letter stated, “The flag is a symbol that has divided individuals, populations and entire communities.”
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The group fired back, calling the city's decision “political correctness and an attack on our heritage and first amendment rights.”
“It seems like they're trying to ban what people can think," community member Shannon Roberts said.
Roberts said the city was wrong to ban the Confederate flag in a parade that, in part, is supposed to honor Confederate soldiers.
“It depends on how you look at it. Some people look at and see all these bad things, and then some look at it from a different angle,” Roberts said.
While the city banned flying the flag in the parade, pictures posted on Twitter showed many parade watchers clutching their own flags.
Melissa Sullivan believes allowing the flag to be flown in the parade is going too far.
“I understand where people are coming from, but sometimes we have to overlook some of our own beliefs to make a peaceful world, right?” Sullivan said.
Derrick Jennings said Alpharetta made right decision on banning the Confederate flag.
When asked if he felt the flag belonged in the parade, Jennings responded, “No. It's going to be a lot of negative conspiracies to the town."
Channel 2's Tom Regan spoke with a representative from the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He said they abided by the city's rule and did not fly the battle flag.
However, they said they had no control over others flying the flag.
Cox Media Group