Florida County Commission Votes To Fly Confederate Flag Weeks After It Was Taken Down

A Florida county commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to return the Confederate flag to a pole in front of a government complex. The flag was taken down last month in the midst of a national debate about Confederate symbols following a massacre at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

In June, Marion County’s interim administrator, Bill Kauffman, decided to removethe flag from the McPherson Governmental Complex in Ocala. The Board of County Commissioners was not involved in the decision to take down the flag, a spokeswoman for the county told the Ocala-Star Banner last week, adding that the county had not received calls from residents requesting the return of the flag.

But that didn’t mean everyone was on board with Kauffman’s decision.

In an interview with the Star-Banner, John Horrighs, a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, said he thought officials were “trying to placate people.”

“They are jumping on the bandwagon of the national dislike of the flag,” he added.

Minutes after the vote, the flag was back up in front of the building — also the site of the Fallen Officers Memorial, which commemorates officers who have died on the job. The land is paid for by taxpayers. All five members of the panel that voted to bring back the flag are white.

Florida Congressman Richard Nugent (R), who has a district office in the McPherson Complex area, told The Huffington Post the presence of the Confederate flag, which flies alongside historical flags and the American flag, is different from the flag “flying alone over a statehouse.”

“It’s part of the state’s history that our children should learn from, not history we should choose not to tell them,” he said. “But I also wouldn’t fly the Confederate flag over a statehouse to honor Confederate ancestors any more than I would fly a British, French or Spanish flag over a statehouse to honor Americans’ British, French and Spanish ancestors.”

In South Carolina, a Senate bill to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds passed on Tuesday, 36-3, and will move on to the House. If it passes, it will go to the desk of Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who has said she would sign the bill.