Thousands Ride In Support Of Confederate Flag
An estimated 2,000 vehicles, mostly motorcycles and trucks adorned with Rebel flags, took part in a rally and ride Sunday afternoon in support of keeping a Confederate flag flying in front of the McPherson Governmental Complex in Ocala.
The event was organized by David Stone, of Ocala, and was called the Florida Southern Pride Ride. Police officials estimated participation at a couple thousand vehicles.
The ride started at about 1 p.m. and, as of 1:30 p.m., could be seen winding its way through Ocala.
Participants were wearing shirts that said “heritage not hate” and talked of defending a way of life rooted in Southern traditions.
Danny Hart, of Dunnellon, had two Confederate flags and the American flag in the back of his truck. He pointed out that the U.S. flag was flying higher and said that he had come to participate in the ride to “defend freedom.”
Another ride participant, Rick Hart, said, “It’s a history thing. The flag is also a military flag. It’s not a race symbol.”
A replica of the General Lee from the 1979-85 “The Dukes of Hazard” TV show led the way, followed by motorcycles and then pickup trucks. The ride was expected to be 17 miles total and loop back to parking lots north of the city on North U.S. 441.
Ocala Police Department Sgt. Erica Hay said the ride was rerouted away from the Northwoods neighborhood after some residents threatened to shoot into the procession. More