Austin, TX – Austin Mayor Steve Alder is skipping this year’s Veterans Day parade over “symbols of racism.”
After recent controversy about the Confederate battle flag, the parade organizers decided to ban the flag at this year’s parade; the mayor said that isn’t enough.
“While that is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t quite go far enough for me,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler told KXAN.
“Veterans Day should only be about honoring United States Military Veterans,” Adler said in a statement Thursday morning. “Symbols of racism, Civil War secession, and white supremacy should not be forgotten or erased, but they need to be remembered and studied in museums and classrooms not cheered and applauded in parades.”
The mayor said the parade committee will still allow the carrying of the official Confederate flag, and he’s not okay with that.
The first official flag of the Confederacy has two horizontal red stripes and one white horizontal strip along with seven stars in a blue box.
Adler stressed that his decision was made due to personal conviction and doesn’t represent a city stance. However, some veterans, including African Americans, disagree strongly with the mayor’s decision.
“This is his opportunity to be the better guy,” said Army veteran Michael Cargill, who served for more than a decade and is black.
“He is the mayor of the city of Austin, a great city, and this is his chance to say, ‘you know what, I’m going to put my differences aside, and I’m going to go there. I’m going to let them know that I dislike what they’re doing, but I’m still going to stand up for the veterans,’” Cargill told KXAN.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans and The Descendant of Confederate Veterans both plan to display the original flag of the Confederacy, which was flown from March 1861 to May of 1863.
The groups told KVEU they’re “dedicated to perpetuating the memory of Confederate veterans with honor and dignity.”