Supporters of Confederate flag rally in Gaston County

GASTONIA, N.C. — Sons of Confederate Veterans Mechanized Cavalry organized a "Save the Flag" rally Saturday in Gastonia.

The group rallied in front of the Confederate monument at the Gaston County Courthouse.

IMAGES: Supporters of Confederate flag rally in Gaston County

The flag has been unjustly associated with hate for years and that it simply represents Southern heritage, organizers said. 
Many held up Confederate flags while others held signs, such as one that read, "Don't erase our history."

ARTICLE: Confederate flag supporters to hold rally Saturday in Gastonia
Men and women at the rally argued their heritage is under attack following the tragedy in Charleston.
The crowd said they do not support Dylann Roof who was charged with shooting and killing nine people inside an AME church.

They also told Channel 9 they don't embrace the flag because they are racist, but rather in honor of their ancestors who fought in the Civil War and defended their land – many of whom lost their lives doing so.

Organizer Bill Starnes was asked, "When someone says the flag represents hate, what do you say?" 
"They're uneducated," Starnes said. "They're mis-educated. They're maleducated. Go do your research."