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Controversy Surrounding Union County Parade

LEWISBURG — A Civil War re-enactment group that carries a Confederate Flag in public events has withdrawn from a parade in Union County after coordinators...

LEWISBURG -- A Civil War re-enactment group that carries a Confederate Flag in public events has withdrawn from a parade in Union County after coordinators asked that it not be displayed.

The controversy over displaying the Confederate Flag has grown since last week's murders at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Union County Veterans Fourth of July Parade draws crowds of around 25,000 people. But this year some people say they are boycotting the parade because of the parade committee's decision to ban Confederate Flags.

Jeff Swanger of New Berlin is a member of a Civil War re-enactment group that carries the Confederate Flag in public events.

He and his group have participated in the Union County Veterans Fourth of July Parade in Lewisburg for six years. They recently decided to pull out of the parade after Swanger got a phone call from someone on the parade committee.

"He said, 'I really would like you guys to come to the parade,' ge said, 'but I don't want you to carry the flag in the parade,'" Swanger said.

Swanger is talking about the Confederate Flag -- something he says is part of their re-enactment uniforms.

"You have this symbol that means something to the Confederacy that is a very important symbol that needs to be shown," Swanger said.

The ban on the Confederate Flag caused controversy among people who believe it should be shown during the parade.

The parade committee responded by saying, "While we certainly acknowledge the historical and educational significance of the Confederate Flag, we do not want to detract in any way from the veterans we are honoring in this year's parade. We feel with the recent events in South Carolina that it is too complex of an issue at this time."

People we spoke with have very different views as to whether the Confederate Flag should be allowed at the Union County Fourth of July Parade.

"If they are reenacting Confederate soldiers, then they should have the flags that were used by them," John Letteer said.

"What ever is not integrating I would, for the peace of mind of everybody, try to avoid what is a point of conflict," Manuel Delgado said.

The parade kicks off Saturday at 10 a.m. and goes down Market Street in Lewisburg rain or shine.

There will be a fireworks display Friday night in Lewisburg.

The theme of this year's parade is honoring our Vietnam veterans.