From a Volkswagen Beetle to a big-rig, dozens of vehicles lined up in the parking lot of a Loxahatchee strip mall on Saturday to parade the Confederate flag around northern Palm Beach County.
“I wanted to show that not everybody that wants to display the rebel flag is racist,” says rally organizer Taylor Mosier.
In the wake of the mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, local and state governments are reassessing why -- and whether -- they should fly the banner of the Confederate States of America. South Carolina removed the flag from its statehouse last week. In Marion County, Florida officials voted unanimously to continue displaying the colors.
Somewhere amid the diesel engines and deafening air horns at the old Winn-Dixie parking lot in Loxahatchee is a version of that debate, over the intention with which a symbol is used and the history with which it comes.
Brandon Maxwell, one of the few protesters at the rally, held up a poster that read: "The Confederate Flag: Supporting Bigotry and Treason Since 1861."
"I think this little rally is kind of the last bastion of intolerance," said the Loxahatchee resident. "The last thing that they can hold onto to show that they’re not going to go with the times."
Pat Kaveney -- a self-described Yankee by birth, Rebel by choice -- was born in Massachusetts but now lives in Loxahatchee. He was flying two Confederate flags off the back of a 9-foot-tall Dodge Ram and said he simply doesn’t see the problem with the flag.
"It’s been there for hundreds of years, all of a sudden it’s a sign of hatred? I don’t believe it," Kaveney says.
Around 9:30, engines revved and tires peeled out as the parade of trucks and Confederate flags hit the streets. The lead truck, with organizer Taylor Mosier riding shotgun in a cowboy hat, blasted Toby Keith music and flew no fewer than five flags (three United States, two Confederate States).
In bold window-marker letters, a passenger window read: "I will never apologize for being AMERICAN!"