Large Confederate flag flying in Catawba Co. stirs up controversy

CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. — A large Confederate flag has been hoisted up in Catawba County, and the group behind it said it's in response to Confederate memorials being taken down across the South.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans put the flag up on Springs Road in Hickory.

Joseph Golden with the Sons of the Confederate Veterans has a business near the flag on Springs Road, and just a few miles away there is another 10-by-15 foot Confederate flag.

“I feel like I’m honoring my ancestors,” Golden said. “It makes me feel proud. It truly does. There’s not a day that I see it whipping in the wind it doesn’t do something for my blood.”

Many neighbors Channel 9 spoke to said at first they were surprised by the large Confederate flag, but don’t believe the Sons of the Confederate Veterans should have to remove the flags.

“I was surprised to see it, that it went it up, but my feelings are that it doesn’t reflect anything bad to me. That’s our history,” resident Suzanna Gardner said.

But Jerry McCombs, the head of the NAACP in Catawba County, disagreed. He said for some the flag represents racism, but he said there’s little he can do about the flags since they’re all on private property.

“They’re not on a government property. They’re not on a state property so they have a right to do that. But I will say that we are totally still against the flag because the flag represents racism and is a symbol of white supremacy,” McCombs said.

Golden said he has no intention of taking down his flag. He said he had several relatives who fought for the Confederacy.

“It’s gonna give our children and our grandchildren a link to their heritage,” Golden said.

None of the flags are in the city limits; Channel 9 found out the large flags can fly there as well. There are no current ordinances preventing that from happening.

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