POSTED: 11:51 am EDT August 18, 2006
ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s a symbol that stirs up feelings of hate in some, but pride in others. The confederate flag could soon be headed to the license plates of thousands of cars in Central Florida.
The group Sons of Confederate Veterans wants to get a confederate flag plate added to the list of specialty plates in Florida. If the group gets its way, you could get the plate for your car as early as next year.
While the group says the five flags of the Confederacy represent their heritage and great pride in their grandfather’s causes, the flags have brought peoples’ blood boiling to the color of rebel red.
Under a perfect sky, and a fitting monument to confederate soldiers, the group made its vocal plea Friday, a specialty license plate to remember four years in the 1860s and America’s bloodiest war.
Public support has been overwhelmingly positive," said John Walker Adams, Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The group needs to show 30,000 Floridians would proudly display the rebel battle flag on their car. But talking to a dozen or so people Friday, Eyewitness News couldn’t find one.
"It’s just ignorant," one said.
"I think prejudice, racism," said another.
"I don’t like it," another said.
"I think about KKK," said one.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans said it’s about heritage, not hate, rebel red, but also Uncle Sam green. At $25 a plate and times 30,000, the group stands to make three-quarters of a million dollars, all going to re-enactments and education, hoping to get away from the hate group image of the stars and bars.
"Having this plate will create a much needed dialogue," Adams said.
"Condemning it is not enough. We are going to take the flag back. This was an honorable flag," said supporter H.K. Edgerton.
Now, 140 years after the war’s end, the honor will be decided in Tallahassee. But on the streets of Orlando, it was clear we may be "way down south in Dixie land," but not necessarily welcoming the memories.
"That heritage represents hate," one passerby said.
Once the group shows necessary support, the state legislature takes up the issue. If it passes, the governor would have to sign the bill allowing it to become one of Florida’s symbols to the world.
Nine other states have Confederate tags. Florida already has nearly 100 other specialty plates.
On The Web: http://www.wftv.com/news/9700675/detail.html