The Sunshine Edition
11:59 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Confederate Flags On Display At Florida's Capitol

A Confederate flag used to fly over the Capitol from 1978 to 2001, until then-governor Jeb Bush had it taken down.
A Confederate flag used to fly over the Capitol from 1978 to 2001, until then-governor Jeb Bush had it taken down.
Credit hculligan / flickr

Last week, Florida's Capitol hosted confederate flags in its rotunda. 

The Sons of Confederate Veterans group got clearance to display the flags in commemoration of their ancestors, who died during the Civil War. April 26 was Confederate Memorial Day, an official state holiday since 1895.

Kelly Crocker is one of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who put up the display. 

"We just wanted to bring awareness and bring remembrance to those confederate soldiers," says Crocker. 

But some in South Florida did not take the flying of the flags so lightly. A sample of some listener reactions:

"There's a difference between a memorial day that commemorates soldiers on both sides of the civil war, versus a flag that represents racism and bigotry."

"I see the flying of the confederate flag absolutely no different than flying the Nazi flag." 

Crocker says he doesn't view the flags in the same way. 

"I look at it as part of Florida history, which is part of United States history," he says. 

Rep. Perry Thurston, a democrat from Ft. Lauderdale, is House Minority Leader in Tallahassee. He says that flying the flags in Florida's Capitol is offensive.

"We're celebrating the difference as opposed to celebrating the lives of the hundreds and thousands of soldiers on both sides who fought for what we have now," says Thurston. 

Thurston adds, while the U.S. Constitution doesn't prohibit displaying Confederate flags, he questions if the message of the flags is the right kind for visitors of Florida's Capitol. 

Crocker says the Sons of Confederate Veterans will consider bringing the display back to the Capitol next year. 

"I cannot change history. I cannot change my heritage," says Crocker.