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Last week when announcing the Wake Forest Christmas parade would be replaced with a festival, town spokesman Bill Crabtree said in a statement it was “due to the ongoing Confederate heritage debate and potential for groups on both sides to use the Christmas parade as a platform to promote their political agenda.”
This perpetuated the fearmongering that had begun on Dec. 4 when Wake Forest police claimed violence, bloodshed and death would result from my group of 10-20 people walking in the parade. The 47th Regiment NC Troops Camp 166, Wake Forest, Sons of Confederate Veterans has been in the Wake Forest parade for 26 years. We never had an agenda — political or otherwise — than wishing parade-goers a Merry Christmas and honoring our family war veterans.
Our symbols and monuments have been turned into something they’re not and hijacked by groups who spread hate. We embrace our family history and are proud of our ancestors who fought in the War Between the States. We love and respect all people of all colors.
At no time have we ever threatened violence or done anything to spread fear or concern. The flag of the Confederate States of America was and still is the flag of freedom and independence, not the flag of slavery. Facts and open conversations rather than fear and innuendo should have been used to keep the parade in Wake Forest, a 72-year tradition which is now gone.
Crabtree stated that “it was impossible to proceed without generating controversy, focusing negative attention on our community and alienating many of our residents.”
Cancelling the parade has caused controversy, negativity and alienation in our quaint community — things a Christmas festival will not heal.
Frank B. Powell III