Controversy erupts over Confederate soldiers in Veterans Hall of Fame

By Holly Gregory, Anchor/Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, March 02, 2015

TALLAHASSEE —

The Civil War ended 150 years ago, but a new battle front has opened up in Tallahassee.

Lawmakers may have to decide whether Confederate soldiers can be inducted into the state’s Veterans Hall of Fame. It’s a wall in the Capitol building honoring vets who went on to make great contributions to Florida.

Three Confederate nominees are causing a stir:

Edward Perry served the South in the Civil War and went on to make become Florida’s 14th governor.
David Lange wore Confederate gray. He went on to become a state lawmaker and help found the Florida National Guard.
Samuel Pasco fought against the Union and became a U.S. senator and the namesake of Pasco County.

Their nominations were temporarily tossed out after the Department of Veterans Affairs said Confederate soldiers are technically not veterans.

That isn’t sitting well with David McCallister of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The group is fighting to have the soldiers included.

"The United States Congress has recognized that Confederate veterans are U.S. veterans and are to be accorded the honor and privileges accorded all veterans,“ he said.

On the other side of issue is the NAACP. The president of the Florida NAACP Conference started an online petition to ban Confederate soldiers from the Veterans Hall of Fame.

The petition says, in part: “They fought to tear apart our country in support of savage slavery, in a misguided, hateful attempt to uphold that abomination.”

The Florida Cabinet is expected to discuss whether Confederate soldiers can be inducted into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame at their next meeting on March 10. If they can’t reach a decision, they may ask the Legislature to get involved.

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