My first exposure to the rebel flag as a Northerner came from listening to Southern Rock. Growing up in Detroit, regional pride is something I’m familiar with, and I never got anything from listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd that indicated it represented anything else. My first inclination that it might be a controversial symbol was when I bought a tee shirt with a rebel flag on it, pops mentioned some blacks might be offended by it. It was in the back of my mind, but I still wore it.
My senior year in high school, I met the brother of a friend. We both had the same “Ass Kicking Southern Rock” graphic; me on the back of my jean jacket, him on his tee shirt. We became good friends, and years later formed a southern rock band.
To this day, he remains one of the most influential people in my life, and I still consider him a good friend.
I moved to Georgia, around 1999. At the time, the battle flag was still part of Georgia’s state flag.
I only lived there for a while, and while it might’ve been a passing thought, I didn’t think too much about it at the time. They changed the flag after I moved away. I still like the one that flew when I lived there better.
Now, I’ve been in Florida for a few years now. I’ve seen Battle Flag license plates, stickers, and the flag flying itself in different places. I like the flag, I don’t apologise for that. Some folk find it offensive. It’s not to me, and I don’t mean it to be towards anyone. I have more to say on this, but that’s chapter one.