Ceremony Planned For Confederate Flag Park
By MIKE SALINERO
The Tampa Tribune
Published: April 2, 2009
Confederate Flag Raised
TAMPA - A park memorializing Confederate veterans will officially open April 25 with cannon fire, live music and re-enactors impersonating famous Southern generals.
The park, near the junction of Interstates 4 and 75, gained notoriety last summer when the Sons of Confederate Veterans raised a 30-by-50-foot Confederate flag there. In October, the group replaced the first flag with a larger one.
The veterans group said they raised the flag to draw attention to the 1.9-acre memorial park at its base. David McCallister, a lawyer and officer with the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said the park was built to relate the "actual history of the Confederacy that is not subject to the politically correct whims of today."
"It's not all about slavery," McCallister said. "There were a lot of social and political issues involved. We want to bring about a dialogue on those issues and remember the history and honor the memory of our ancestors."
McCallister said the veterans group decided to build the park and hoist the flag after the Hillsborough County Commission failed to acknowledge Confederate Memorial Day with a proclamation in April 2007. It was the first time in memory the commission did not mark the day or proclaim April as Southern Heritage Month.
Some commissioners and civil rights activists have denounced the gigantic flag as a painful reminder of the system that enslaved blacks before the Civil War. McCallister and others say Confederate soldiers were Americans and due the same respect as other veterans of the nation's wars.
The dedication ceremony will be Saturday April 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the park located at 10418 U.S. Highway 92, Tampa. For more information, go to www.tampaflag.info.