Float causes controversy in local holiday parade


Erica Roman

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Billie Firmin, Editor

At the annual Christmas parade in Springdale on Nov. 24, things became a little less than festive as a float manned by the Arkansas Sons of Confederate Soldiers made its way through the downtown area. The parade is to commemorate the beginning of the holiday season and includes turning on Christmas lights downtown. It is sponsored by the Rodeo of the Ozarks, which does not have a vetting process for floats. The Arkansas Sons of Confederate Soldiers float was decorated with Christmas lights and Confederate flags. The men participating in the float were dressed like Confederate soldiers and carried antique rifles.

The Sons of Confederate Soldiers is an organization that has divisions in each of the former Confederate states. They describe their organization as “a historical, patriotic and nonpolitical [sic] organization dedicated to insuring [sic] that a true history of the 1861-1865 period is preserved for future generations.”

Alice Gachuzo, who attended the parade and was interviewed by KNWA, was disappointed that the group was allowed to participate in the parade and said: “You have to apply to get into the parade, and to see that it was allowed to take place was shocking.”

Megan Godfrey, the Representative-elect for District 89, which encompasses Springdale, released a statement on Twitter regarding the incident. “The ‘hate vs. heritage’ argument is playing out with intensity from both sides. I don’t have the perfect answer for effectively engaging in these conversations…but please know that, regardless of your or others intentions or motivations, you are causing discomfort, hurt, and even fear to your neighbors. Is it worth it?”

Trip Wilson, president of the Arkansas Division of the Sons of Confederate Soldiers, said that “There was nothing going on that was illegal, or illicit or wrong. Some people have a misconception of what confederate states were and what the war was about and people who have those misconceptions have preconceived ideas of what they’re feeling.”

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