Flag's Message Questioned

TAMPA -

The flying of a huge Confederate flag along Interstate 75 focused national attention on Tampa. And, despite its historic meaning, some say the flag's prominence is sending the wrong message.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans unfurled the 50 by 30 foot flag to mark the birthday of Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy's only president.

The group says the flag is a source of pride for descendants of Confederate soldiers. The flag is not within the city limits. And, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, who has a Masters degree in history, says she can appreciate the historic context.

But, you can't take away the divisive nature of the confederate flag, Iorio said. Years ago, Hillsborough County took the Confederate flag off of their seal and created a new seal because of controversy.

She added, It's certainly not appropriate for a group to put up such a large Confederate flag in such a prominent part of the interstate system as people are entering into our community. I think it sends the wrong message.

However, the mayor didn't go as far as to call for the flag to be taken down. Iorio said that's up to the people doing this to decide.

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