It has become a tradition of the Florida Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, to pass out small Confederate battle flags to crowds at any event in which we participate.

Last year, we distributed more than 3,000 flags to the Springtime Tallahassee crowd, and a smaller number the year before. The reaction of the crowd has been so overwhelmingly positive that this year we purchased 10,000 flags.

The Springtime organization had never indicated that there was any problem with passing out these flags, and members came from far away to help us distribute them. What a surprise when a Springtime marshal appeared at our float as we were lining up to inform us in a very belligerent manner that we would NOT, under any circumstances, pass out any flags. Springtime president Bill Parsons told us that, if we passed out a single flag, he would immediately have us removed from the parade.

We apologize for the disappointment to the thousands of parade watchers who called out to ask for the flags, but we were merely following a directive that was disappointing and unwarranted.

Springtime’s theme was "Unlimited Possibilities." Our float contained not only native white Southerners, but also Asian Americans, African Americans, Native Americans and even two live Yankees! We felt this coming together in brotherhood represented unlimited possibilities. It’s a shame that Springtime’s action limited our possibilities.

BILL BECKHAM
Chief of staff, Florida Division
Sons of Confederate Veterans
confusion1@bellsouth.net

http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006604040310