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Bill Would Ban All Confederate Flags on Public Grounds as Question of “Security” Is Raised Over Ag Museum Civil War Reenactment

| August 21, 2015

It's just a reenactment. (Nathan Rupert)

It’s just a reenactment. (Nathan Rupert)

Earlier this week Andrew Morrow, executive director of the Florida Agriculture Museum, submitted a request for a $1,500 grant from the county’s Tourist Development Council to defray the costs of the Pellicer Creek Raid, the annual Civil War reenactment event started six years ago at the museum. It has since grown to attract 150 reenactors and, last year, 1,200 spectators.

The event, on Oct. 11, 12 and 13, is the kick-off of the Civil War reenactment season across the state, a ritual that draws roughly 20,000 people statewide, and that continues a popular tradition across the south. There was nothing controversial about the request, which the TDC approved.

But before it did so, Bill McGuire, the Palm Coast City Council member and a member of the TDC, raised a question. “This is kind of a politically correct thing,” he said, “but with all the flap going on in the media about displaying the Confederate flag, do we envision any problem with this? Let me say, when I worked in South Georgia, Civil War reenactments were extremely popular. Now, that was 10 years ago, but the Confederates always won and usually slaughtered the Union down to the last man. But that’s a digression. I am concerned about whether there’ll be any public reaction when the Confederate flag is displayed, which it should be, at a reenactment.”

Bill McGuire. (© FlaglerLive) palm coast city council

Bill McGuire. (© FlaglerLive)

McGuire’s concern is likely misplaced. Displaying the Confederate flag on public property in permanent displays has been drawing criticism in waves since the 1990s, when the NAACP started the movement to remove such displays—cresting, most recently, with the successful push to have the flag removed from the grounds of the South Carolina and Alabama legislatures, but not from the grounds of Marion County government in Florida.

But the movement has not attacked displays of the flag in museums, as part of historical displays or events—such as reenactments—or on private property. And for six years at the Agricultural Museum in Palm Coast, reenactments have taken place between Blue and Grey without incidents, and with the flag flying.

“At our events we do have equal opportunity victories,” Morrow said, “on one day the Confederates win and on the other day the Union wins, so we make sure there’s no bias there. As for the public stance right now, it is part of the heritage.”

“No question about it, but it’s extremely controversial,” McGuire said, suggesting a look into security. But the event’s budget, $4,600, is mostly spoken for. The program includes, according to the museum’s grant application, “a Friday school day, vendors of historic goods, lecturers, and troops representing the Northern and Southern armies of the Civil War.”)

But the same day that McGuire was making his point at the development council, Florida State  Sen. Geraldine Thompson, the Orlando Democrat, introduced a bill at the Legislature, for discussion during the session that begins in January, to ban all displays of the Confederate flag “on publicly owned or leased property.”

The prohibition would extend to “display of the flag or emblem of the Confederate States of America or any flag or emblem used by the Confederate States of America or its military or naval forces at any time  within the years 1860 to 1865 on any building, structure, real  property, or personal property owned or leased by the state, a  county, a municipality, or other governmental unit,” the bill reads.

Problematically for the museum, which is publicly owned, the proposed bill does not make an exception for historical reenactments, though should the bill advance through committee, where bills typically are amended, re-written or killed, such an exception is almost certain to be added. (Morrow did not return a all Friday.)

Already, another legislature is promising to kill it.  House Local and Federal Affairs Chairman Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican, told the News Service of Florida that the bill will die if it comes to the committee he leads. “It’s unfortunate that we’ve gotten tied up in this discussion of cultural cleansing,” Baxley said. “The problem is once you start moving on this, then it goes to monuments, then it goes to roads, then it goes to disturbing graves.”

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36 Responses for “Bill Would Ban All Confederate Flags on Public Grounds as Question of “Security” Is Raised Over Ag Museum Civil War Reenactment”

  1. Patriot76 says:

    I’m really tired of people making news where there is none… it’s equally frustrating when elected officials bring about the same theatrics into their public inquiries. Too many stories blown out of proportion or fabricated because there is no news

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why would we remove it from ALL places like museums and other appropriate historical sites??

  3. Katie Seamore says:

    Why would anyone want a reenactment of such a dreadful time in our history? Especially since the south lost. What would the world think if people in Germany had reenactment of the Nazi roundup of the Jewish people?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not the same thing. We are reenacting the South’s resistance to a brutal invasion.

      • Atticus Finch says:

        Cripes I can’t believe people are still peddling this nonsense.

      • Knightwatch says:

        Intellectual incoherence … the last refuge of the right wing. The “south’s resistance to a brutal invasion”? The south started the shooting war with the attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor on April 12, 1861. And the south precipitated the shooting war by seceding from the Union. And they seceded to protect and sustain their slave-based economy.

        Not exactly the same thing, but close enough.

    • Anonymous says:

      Learn your history it is our heritage and resistance against tyranny!

  4. Rick Belhumeur says:

    How can you possibly have a civil war re-enactment without a flag on each side? Without the Confederate flag… it wouldn’t be a re-enactment. The uniform is a symbol of the Confederacy just like the flag is. What would be next, not allow confederate uniforms either? You can’t truthfully pass on the story of the second world war while leaving out the bombing of Pearl Harbor, just like you can’t tell the story of the Civil War without the Confederate Flag or the Union Jack. The Civil War was part of our country’s history and development and should be shared with future generations accurately.

  5. Freddy says:

    Let’s be politically correct and fly the rainbow flag, Isis flag, black panther flag, and any other minority organization flag. I am sure some relatives of members of these organizations fought for the civil war. I for one is sick and tired of all this political correctness. Maybe the Donald is right.

    • Knightwatch says:

      C’mon, Freddy, it’s not just political correctness. To many people across the political and ethnic spectrum the confederate battle flag is a symbol of human suppression and degradation. And many believe civil war reenactments seek to falsely glorify a horrific attempt by southern states to dissolve our nation – at a cost of 600,000 lives.

      So, let’s all be sensitive to those millions of Americans who see no glory at all in reliving a nightmare over and over. Let’s let the history books deal with this.


    Once they get their foot in this door, they’ll have someone coming around with a measuring tape, measuring from the center of the road to see if that flag in your front yard is inside the city easement.

    These politically correct efforts at cultural cleansing (I like that phrase) are no different, no better, and equally deserving of our disdain as the Taliban who destroyed centuries-old Buddhas when they took over Afghanistan.

  7. groot says:

    I checked, the Civil War ended in 1865. We won. It’s okay. I doubt anyone will get violent over re-enacted violence from that long ago. It’s history, just like history is portrayed on PBS or AHC we all know that. By the way, history is not PC.

  8. Rich Mikola says:

    I guess that after we ban flags, Jefferson, Jackson and eventually Washington, we will be required in the name of political correctness to BURN all books that reference the Confederacy and slavery. No big fan of the southern cause myself, but I really enjoy the re-enactments with the proper flags. How stupid would it look to re-enact Lexington and Concord without the British Flag.

  9. Geezer says:

    Don’t be afraid – fly your flag of choice.
    This way everyone knows where you stand – who you love – who you hate.

    I like knowing what my neighbors think.

  10. Heading North says:

    Technically I believe the “Stars and Bars” ie;the Confederate flag is in actuality the Confederate “Battle Flag” and not the flag of the Confederate States of America.
    None the less, the flag is part of America’s HISTORY!
    Will they next make Texas take down the flag that says “Don’t Tread on Me”?
    Are we to forget all the brave men and women who died for a cause they believed in?
    If so, then will they have us forget things like the Challenger, the Columbia, and perhaps even 9-11 and the World Trade Center ?
    What will be next??

  11. Doc 58 says:

    This guy is a dolt. I plan on never returning to his city to ever spend a single vacation dollar.

  12. karma says:

    Now that the road name Old Dixie Highway has been deemed racist, I am sure a movement to rename it can not be for behind in Flagler County.

  13. David B says:

    I don’t need a flag to represent me and my Southern Heritage. All I need is being very proud that I grew up in the South.

  14. Casey says:

    I am not an advocate for the Confederate flag. I am, however, an advocate of preserving history, no matter how bleak and awful history has been during certain periods.

    How much of history are we willing to erase so that no one is ever offended? History is something we learn from so that we can avoid reliving and recreating mistakes in the future.

  15. groot says:

    Conneaut, Ohio has one of the largest annual D Day reenactments in the world. and there are plenty of Swastikas around, enough to make most of us cringe. Granville, Ohio has had a very large civil war reenactment for years with cavalry and artillery. It’s done on a private farm.
    If the stars and bars are a problem on public land, move it out west to private land.
    But, like I said, the Civil War ended in 1865. These reenactments are living museums.

  16. Obama 2015 says:

    I am not a fan of the Confederate flag but this is getting out of hand. What is stands for in most people’s eyes is racism and hate but it is a part of our history.

    The major issue I have is anything paid by and supported by the public should not be endorsing it. It should not be part of a State Flag, it should not be on licence plates and it should not be flown along side the American Flag on any public grounds.

    However if a public or private owned Civil War Battleground wants to fly the flag fine.

    A resting place of Confederate soldiers want to put flags on graves and by them with tax money, fine.

    A museum wants to display it or if someone wants to do reenactments on public land, fine.

    I have no issue with it being on Dukes of Hazzard Toys and seeing the show on TV because it is FICTION. It’s not real life.
    I can turn on the TV at any time and see the swastika and that symbol is far more hateful.

  17. Jay says:

    Well said Casey, how much History are we willing to erase, some one will always be offended no mater what we do or what we say. The Confederate flag It is part of History so just
    let it be.

  18. GT says:

    How long before political correctness over takes freedom of speech, everyone is so scared to say anything these days because it might upset someone. I’m from Massachusetts where you very rarely see a confederate flag but I don’t want anyone telling me I can’t own one or display it if I choose. If there is any place where that flag should be it’s at a civil war reenactment it’s as much a part of the south as the gray uniforms.

    • Patriot76 says:

      [Selected as the Comment of the Day in the Daily Briefing.–FL]

      People are missing the point – this Confederate Flag campaign was about the public display of the flag on public property. Nobody can deny your right to wave and display the flag as you choose on your person or private property. What we should not support, is the government and public support of a flag that represents oppression and treason. The only flag of treason we should represent is the Stars and Stripes – our independence from Britain.

      As for political correctness – we should care more about debate based on reason and not emotion. But all I see from those frustrated with the political correctness are people who typically have a difficult time formulating a logical and sound argument. While I don’t agree with all of the babying and eggshell walking that comes with political correctness – trust me that if you are savvy enough, you can talk circles around those folks

  19. GT says:

    Maybe they will rename Old Dixie Hwy, Old Martian Luther King Hwy!

  20. Knightwatch says:

    For those delusional and disengenuous people who contend the confederate flag is merely a symbol of southern heritage, kindly go to this web site on MSN News (The Root – and look at the flyer being passed around Southfield, Michigan during a local election. It depicts a hooded (KKK) white guy holding a semiautomatic handgun to the head of a 6-year black kid with the confederate flag as a backdrop. The theme of this and two other racist flyers is “Let’s get the blacks out of Southfield in November”.

    Southern heritage … yep, they got it about right.

    • Carl W. Roden says:

      Your disingenuous analysis is flawed. Mere association alone does not make the flag a symbol of hate, nor Southern heritage synonymous with bigotry anymore than any photo of a white supremacist holding Old Glory makes the US flag a symbol of hatred.

      For those anti- Confederate heritage reactionaries who contend that misuse of the flag by racist groups makes it a tool of hatred, kindly go to THIS web page and see just exactly who DOES truly honor that flag…you may be surprised:

  21. markingthedays says:

    I’m no fan of the Confederate Flag, but Bill McGuire is foolish to grasp at this straw.

    • Bill McGuire says:

      Markingthedays: I’m no fan of the stars and bars either.My comments to the TDC had nothing to do with the flag or the civil war. I was expressing concern for the public that fanatics might compromise their safety, nothing more.

  22. Scott says:

    Aren’t some folks between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf doing this same thing? I know that it is done in North Korea, the PRC, the PRV, and Cuba. Just another case to prove how public education has failed the people of the Republic. If anyone is educated enough to tell you what a “republic” is.

  23. Knightwatch says:

    O,k,, southerners, instead of reenacting battles, why not reenact a plantation with black slaves tilling the fields. You can have really great displays showing how your ancestors bought and traded humans like they would sheep or cattle, shackled and whipped the slaves to enforce discipline, hung, shot or maimed those who resisted or escaped, raped their women and sold off their children.

    This would be a far more accurate depiction of typical civil war-era southern heritage.

    • Patriot76 says:

      Knightwatch – that’s about as delicate as asking a German to reenact everything that happened between the years 1932 and 1945. While far more accurate, I’m pretty sure they don’t want to speak about it

  24. karma says:

    Who captured and sold the slaves to Americans. Did we outsource this job?

  25. confidential says:

    They fought in the south under that flag…denying its historical presence would be a lie and a distortion of history! Anyone going to see these battle re enactments are supposed to expect and see the Southern Flag!! C’mon, lets don’t start the Civil War allover again. They have their right to their flag not that I am fond of it but is the fair thing to we live South of the Maxon Dixon Line here…live and let live! Just my opinion…a flag does not kill anyone…is just that some use it for their extreme views!

  26. bella2010 says:

    Enough already. Leave history alone and take concern with the issues and problems of today.

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