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Civil War Re-Enactors Debate Confederate Flag - KOAM TV 7

Civil War Re-Enactors Debate Confederate Flag

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CARTHAGE, MISSOURI -

Even after the removal of the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina's statehouse grounds, the debate of history or hate continues. 

As a civil war re-enactor and amateur historian, Steve Cottrell understands the Confederate battle flag's historical and cultural context. But he doesn't want to see it thought of only as a symbol of slavery.

"Show me a country that has a flag, that represents their nation, that has always been pure," Cottrell said.

Sunday's "Battle of Carthage" re-enactment doesn't feature a flag of the North of South. Just the 3rd Missouri Infantry's. 
Although with nearly-monthly Civil War re-enactments, Cottrell says the Dixie flag is a familiar sight. 

"I think the controversy is fueled by misunderstanding," Cottrell said.

He's not alone in his belief. 
Most we talked to understood people's issue with the flag, though not going as far to say get rid of it. 

"Civil rights area is still a hot topic," re-enactor Tom Sprague said. "It's still a problem that they're working on. They're old wounds. And they were very bitter wounds, and it takes a lot of time to heal."

David Carnine is a spectator at Sunday's re-enactments.
He believes most people's issue isn't the flag, but the context it's presented. 

"Some wear it for white pride or racial segregation, things like that," Carnine said. "But others wear it for the actual historical context. Keeping history alive."

What history is it keeping alive? A history of slavery and oppression?
Cottrell says he sees the flag as a symbol of southern culture and history which includes slavery, but isn't defined by it.

"And I understand how African Americans might be disturbed by it because the Klan and other hate groups have misused it," Cottrell said. "It represents a number of things, but to me it just represents the Southland."

Members of US congress have presented legislation this week restricting the display of the Confederate battle flag.
No action has been taken on it thus far. 

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