Did parade honor all Veterans?

By Jeremy Z. Young

CLICK HERE to view photos taken at the Knoxville, Tennessee Veterans Day Parade.


The American Legion Knoxville Post 2 presented Knoxville’s 83rd Veterans Day Parade Nov. 11, giving honor to almost all American Veterans.

But one group of American Veterans, the Sons of the Confederacy, considered themselves left out.

H.K. Edgerton, President of Southern Heritage 411 stood proudly in front of the East Tennessee History Center on Gay Street wearing Confederate apparel and waving a Confederate Flag.

“To think the Sons of the Confederate Veterans would be banned from a Veterans Day Parade is despicable,” Edgerton said. “Today is a shameful day for me.”

Edgerton, of Asheville, NC is a black Confederate activist who works tirelessly to tell people of all races about Southern American Heritage. H.K. Edgerton has walked thousands of miles carrying his large Confederate Battle Flag.

Edgerton and Southern Heritage 411 strive to illuminate the truth as it pertains to the relationships and experiences of blacks and whites in the South as they have struggled together.

“I’m standing here proudly to represent those who died for our country,” Edgerton said. “Many in the military, retired and active, have no idea this has happened. The Union Sons are even supportive of us and this flag.”

For more information about Edgerton and his drive to tell the whole story of the Confederacy, visit www.southernheritage411.com

Chairman of the Special Events Committee at the American Legion Post 2, Marty Everett said the Sons of the Confederacy weren’t told that they couldn’t march in the parade, they were told that they could not wave Confederate “Rebel” flags and march.

“They could march, but chose not to,” Everett said. “They were told they couldn’t participate carrying their flags.”

Everett said that last year, the committee turned down groups who would’ve waved the German and Mexican flags.

“We try to avoid any type of controversy,” Everett said. “The Rebel Flag is an honorable flag that a lot of men died for because they believed in the cause. But unfortunately, that flag has been hi-jacked by a lot of hate groups and a lot of people, when they see that flag, they don’t see a confederate, they see a hate group.”

“We’ve been doing this a long time, this is the 83rd edition of the parade,” Everett said. “This is the first time (the Confederates) have tried to be in the parade.

“Pure and simple: The American Flag and the Tennessee Flag are the only governments represented in the parade,” he continued. “The bottom line is that the parade is to honor Veterans of the United States Armed Forces and we don’t allow anyone else to use the parade to further their cause… If they don’t have something to do with honoring the Veterans of the United States Armed Forces, they’re not in the parade.”

As the parade began, Gibbs High School ROTC saluted a large American Flag that hung from a City of Knoxville Fire ladder truck as the national anthem rang out above the crowd.

Bands and ROTC units from various Knox County High Schools, as well as other high schools around the area, came to march in the parade and give honor to those who have fought for America’s freedoms.

The Marines were the featured military branch for the parade. In honor of women who have served in the military, women donned the military uniforms of yesteryear to remind us all how many years that women have proudly served our nation.

Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam were joined by city council and county commission members as they walked down Gay Street handing out novelty American Flags.

As children were amazed by massive military vehicles, parents and patriots saluted and applauded for those riding in them.

Copyright © 2008 Premiere Publishing, Inc.

On The Web: http://www.theknoxvillejournal.com/inside/news/Did-parade-honor-all-Veterans.html