The members of Lynyrd Skynyrd probably weren’t expecting a firestorm when they agreed to be interviewed by CNN’s Fredricka, but that’s exactly what transpired when members of the group stated that they would no longer fly the Confederate flag at their shows. The interview, which aired Sept 9th on CNN caused an uproar in the Southern community , especially among long time Skynyrd fans.
The interview went viral almost as soon as it finished airing and angry fans flooded the group’s Facebook and Twitter accounts expressing dissatisfaction with the group’s decision to distance themselves from the flag.
The mainstream media was almost giddy with self adoration. They were no doubt, patting theirselves on the back for what they perceived as another victory in bringing down “the old South”. What they weren’t expecting was the effect that an angry fan base would have on the group’s decision distance itself from the Confederate flag, but that’s exactly what happened and at least one member of the group listened.
Gary Rossington, the last original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd released a statement on Sept 21’st stating:
“I wanted to clarify the discussion of the Confederate Flag in our recent CNN interview. Myself, the past members and the present members (that are from the South), are all extremely proud of our heritage and being from the South. We know what the Dixie flag represents and its heritage; the Civil War was fought over States rights. We still utilize the Confederate (Rebel) flag on stage every night in our shows, we are and always will be a Southern American Rock band, first and foremost. We also utilize the state flag of Alabama and the American flag as well, ‘cause at the end of the day, we are all Americans. I only stated my opinion that the confederate flag, at times, was unfairly being used as a symbol by various hate groups, which is something that we don’t support the flag being used for. The Confederate flag means something more to us, Heritage not Hate…
-Gary Rossington ”
While the left-wing media was quick to spread the news of “their victory” ( Skynyrd’s decision to distance themselves from all things Confederate), they were less enthusiastic to spread the news of Rossington’s clarification that they will still fly the Confederate Battle Flag at their shows. In fact “news organizations” such as The Atlantic Wire decided to ignore Rossington’s statement all together.
The very same day that Rossington released his statement that the group WAS NOT going to stop flying the Confederate Battle Flag at their live shows The Atlantic Wire published an article entitled “Racists Ruined the Confederate Flag for Lynyrd Skynyrd” !
The article states that: “The reason reporters are scouring online forums, fanpage comments, and Twitter is because the last surviving original member of the hard-to-spell band which brought you Southern anthems “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama”, Gary Rossington, has made a pledge to stop associating the band (himself) with the Confederate flag. It’s a big move since part of the reason the Confederate flag has remained popular (at least in rock n roll) was because Lynyrd Skynyrd’s use of the flag in concerts and memorabilia (back when Rossington didn’t think it was associated with the KKK and raging racists)”
I find it hard to believe that The Atlantic Wire author of this article had absolutely no idea that Rossington had clarified his statements about the Confederate flag and his pledge to keep flying it at their shows, or the fact that Rossington stated the war was not about slavery.
Just in case you were wondering, no The Atlantic Wire has not updated the article to reflect Rossington’s clarification about the Confederate flag. It is a little more than ironic , when one considers that when Rossington’s statements about the flag were published on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Facebook page it received 2108 positive comments within 5 hours of its posting.
Are we really supposed to believe the Atlantic Wire had no knowledge of this? Of course they did, but they were already in celebration mode, they couldn’t spoil the celebration with a healthy dose of the truth could they?
Still, some aren’t so quick to forgive the group even after Rossington pledged to keep flying the flag. Michael Givens, Commander in Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans released the following statement today on his Facebook page:
“Dear Gary, Lynyrd Skynyrd, management, `et alia’,
I am the Commander-in-Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. We are an organization, chartered in 1896 by veterans of the War for Southern Independence for the purpose of promoting the true history and principles of the Confederate soldiers’ cause. On behalf of our 31,000 members I write you today to express our deep sadness and concern over your present stance toward our venerable banner of the South. Your use of the flag in a manner that is up lifting and not aligned with any form of hate has been a stalwart defense of the flag’s true symbolism for many years. We appreciate and applaud your past efforts on behalf of our common ancestors.
Our biggest concern comes from your statement on the 8th of September 2012 to CNN. You disclosed, “But I think through the years, you know, people like the KKK and Skinheads and people have kind of kidnapped the dixie rebel flag from the southern tradition and the heritage of the soldiers.” Sir, our ancestors wrote the definition of that flag with their blood and when they furled the flag at the last battle they tucked their God-given liberty inside. The KKK and the Skinheads do not define our flag any more than the NAACP or any other hate group.
I am sure you do not agree with their hateful views of our flag, therefore I must ask you, who will stand up for the TRUTH, if not you and if not me? The answer is no one and without us the truth will be buried with the American Confederate flag. That is why we must not capitulate to their nancy demands.
Like many men in my organization, your music has been the soundtrack of my life. Your songs have helped define my own identity and Southernness. I have been a fan from the beginning. I was at the second to the last concert of the original band in Johnson City, Tennessee. All my best friends were at the Greenville, South Carolina concert a few days later. Then, our lives were changed forever—some much more than others. We have always been there for you. Your fans have not let you down. Do not let us down.
My fear is that you are living the song, WORKING FOR THE MCA and that Lynyrd Skynyrd has become the subject of a re-branding effort that hopes to make a kinder, gentler Lynyrd Skynyrd. I worked in the ad world for twenty years; re-branding’s not what we need. We need the honest and courageous Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Stay true to your people.
Please fell free to contact me if I may help. I wish you the very best and remain,
Sons of Confederate Veterans