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Tallahassee / An Open Letter

The Associated Press would tell of the honorable effort of the Florida Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans campaign to create a specialty tag. I am so very proud that they would also accurately report that I led in the singing of Dixie prior to the announcement meeting.

Something else would happen later on in this day which I would call an act of providence. Terry Lee (my baby brother) who had traveled here with me, and I, would end up on the road to Havana Florida for no other reason other than Terry Lee suggested we go there because it was a beautiful day; one that should not be wasted watching Sci - Fi. Arriving on the outskirts of Havana, Terry Lee proclaimed that he wanted to play his drum for which he is highly acclaimed both in the entertainment and educational circles of Western North Carolina. Terry Lee being somewhat like I am towards my flag; will spontaneously park his car and get out and play his African Drums. I suggested the school yard, he said no, and we ended up on the beautiful and spacious lawn of the Municipal Building for the City of Havana, Florida ; Terry Lee playing his drum, and by now me standing there holding my beautiful Confederate Battle Flag while thoroughly not only enjoying Terry Lee's playing, but also the moment. From where I stood I could plainly see the many onlookers in the strip mall across the street; the old black man who had parked his wheel chair and was having a grand time, the honking of the horns from the cars that passed and the clear sound of the rebel yell swelled me with pride for it came from blacks and whites alike,after dialogue, the kind words of support from a black gentleman and the passengers in his car, who proclaimed to me ;continue your honorable stand.

Shortly thereafter, a car pulled up, a nice lady got out and require of me, what were we protesting ? Before I could answer her , a plains clothed policeman , and a officer came upon me, I left her with Terry Lee explaining while I was being told by the policemen that in no uncertain terms, we would have to vacate the premises, and that there were city ordinances that govern a permitting process for the right to demonstrate. I told him that we were not demonstrating against anything. My little brother wanted to play his drum, and I having nothing better to do decided to fly my flag, and enquired of the officer , do you mean to tell me that in the Southland of America, that if I get out of my car and decide to express my first amendment right by flying my flag, I would be required to obtain a permit. The very nice officer kindly explained that this being city property , we need a permit, or would have to go. Somehow we ended up in a lengthy conversation about the political correctness and reconstruction agenda to divide black and white folks in the South, and none more prevalent that today, especially the attack on our flag and people. I expressed to him that perhaps I had taken up too much of their time preaching, for we had been standing there now for some time conversation like old friends, while throngs of people had now gathered across the street, watching I suppose, expecting something bad to happen to Terry Lee and I from the police. The plains clothes policeman exclaimed to me, no Mr..Edgerton, I have enjoyed talking and learning some things from you here today. Terry Lee indicated that he had a DVD of our journey to Texas in the van. As he and the young officer went to retrieve a copy, the other officers phone began to ring. I could clearly hear him say yes mam, yes mam. As he approached me I said officer we shall go now, his response was no, you don't have to leave; that lady that was talking to your brother, is the City Manager, Ms Susan Fraiden, and further she says that you and your brother can stay here as long as you like. I was suddenly in a state of euphoria; here was a young Southern White Lady in a position of prominence in a Southern town who made a decision on this day that so many of her station would not have had the courage to make. I shall always love her. I asked the plains clothed officer his Chiefs name so that I could thank him for the officer the name of his Chief so that I could than him for the courteous manner that we had been extended, He exclaimed that he was Chief Mitchell , and that his Department would be there for us if we need any assistance. God bless him and Officer Cobb.

As if this was not enough, Terry Lee and I on Saturday would march in the Tallahassee Festival Parade along side the Sons, Daughters,Children of the Confederacy, and the Order of the Confederate Rose. Our spirits could not be dampened even after being told by one of the parade officials just prior to the parade beginning, that the some 10,000 Confederate Battle Flags purchased, would not be allowed to be passed out to the wanting public. I was feeled with pride when I looked up and saw Terry Lee's African Drum decorated in a circle of 13 of those flags, each representing one of the Confederate States. I was even more proud when Terry Lee led our Southern family off to the beat of his drum. I am sure that the people of Tallahassee, like those of Havana shall never forget the spectacle of love and family as an African drummer amongst a sea of Confederate Flags marched to the step of Southern pride and love.