Confederate flag defender: Organizations hijacked our flag

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – “The flag means basically, southern heritage for us,” said Lt. Commander of the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Phillip Autrey.

Your heritage can mean a lot of things–maybe where you’re from, who you are, or who your ancestors were.

“The flag also means southern independence, it means real southern constitutional government, and it stands for great leaders, and great men like Robert E. Lee,” said Autrey.

Phillip Autry knows his heritage well.

“My ancestors fought, and one died, for Georgia, defending Georgia, and for the confederate cause,” said Autrey.

He’s a part of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

“The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a historical and heritage organization. We go around like this monument here, we will clean the monument and take care of it because a lot of governments say they don’t have the money,” said Autrey.

After Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people at a church in Charleston, his association with the confederate flag put pressure on the South Carolina legislature.

Many wanted the confederate flag near the capitol taken down, and the legislature agreed.

What was once a confederate memorial was taken down.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans disagreed.

“Overall we were hurt, and of course after being hurt I think comes anger that they want to do away with the flag,” said Autrey.

Autrey encourages everyone to look at the history.

“The major reason that they seceded is state’s rights–tariffs and so forth levied by the north. And of course slavery is one of the sub sections of state’s rights,” said Autrey.

But that doesn’t mean slavery was right.

“Nobody today–or very few people today would say that slavery is correct or that we should have slavery.”

Back then, it was a different story.

“That’s the problem today–they take today’s morals and laws and so forth and they try to put it to yesterday, and things were different back then,” said Autrey.

He says people take the flag the wrong way.

“I can understand their point of view because there’s other organizations that has hijacked our flag,” said Autrey. “And then the news media and Hollywood portrays the flag with them other organizations.”

His solution?

“We need to educate the public–the school systems need to educate the kids better,” said Autrey.

According to its website, Sons of Confederate Veterans is the oldest hereditary organization for men who have family who fought in the Confederate army.

It started in Richmond Virginia in 1896.

It continues to serve as a historical and patriotic heritage organization with a specialty in the period between 1861 and 1865.

For more information, check out the Sons of the Confederate Veterans website.

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