Missourians gather at Centralia Battlefield for Confederate flag rally
BOONE COUNTY - Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans gathered at Centralia Battlefield Saturday to host a Confederate flag rally.
Darrell Maples, commander of the Missouri Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said the national organization named Saturday National Confederate Flag Day.
"Just about everybody here is a descendant of a Confederate soldier," Maples said. "We wanted to come out to a battlefield site and honor our ancestors."
Maples said the rally is very personal to the organization's members.
"It's all about heritage and history. And with all of the onslaught on anything and everything Confederate right now, it's a way for us to stand up for our families," he said.
Mary Ratliff, president of the Columbia NAACP chapter, said she thinks flying a Confederate flag is an "act of treason" because it is not the country's flag.
She said the flag is "meant to intimidate" people, saying it was once used by the Ku Klux Klan.
Ratliff related the Confederate flag rally to the upcoming presidential election.
"I'm very disturbed with everything that's going on right now," she said. "Donald Trump has spewed hate across the country."
Maples said he wants people to know Confederate flag rallies are not meant to be hateful.
"Our organization denounces anything that's got anything to do with hate or racism, or anything like that," he said.
The organization has been around since 1896.