State rep appearance at Confederate memorial sparks backlash

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ROCHEPORT - The appearance of Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, at an event honoring Confederate soldiers has received some backlash.

Basye denies claims  by Missouri Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Brandon Ellington, who said Basye saluted the confederate flag.

Ellington said, "Not only does that show either a callousness or lack of true understanding of history, and that's extremely concerning and disappointing. It's concerning if you don't understand history, if you don't really understand what the Confederacy is about," said

Basye said he was just there to watch a reenactment with his family.

"I don't know what a confederate salute is. I wouldn't know it if you came to my house and showed me," Basye said.

Bayse's father, Ben Bayse, said the event was to commemorate five confederate soldiers who died on his family's land in Rocheport. He said his great grandfather was a member of the Union, but because the war was close to ending, he allowed the soldiers to be buried there. Basye said they laid there for more than 150 years with no recognition.

"I decided to buy a tombstone for these soldiers, and I would have done the same thing had they been Union soldiers," Ben Basye said.

Ellington said, "There's no way possible that we should be having a tribute to the Confederacy, as elected officials, that are supposed to represent Missouri."

He said he would like to see an apology from Basye, and suggested Basye should possibly take a sensitivity training courses.

Basye said that Ellington misunderstood what happened at the event and was offended by the comments.

"There's something to be said for peer respect, and I wish he had called and talked to me," Basye said.