NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Two Confederate flag-waving men said they wanted to use President Barack Obama’s visit as an opportunity to educate the public Wednesday.
“These [flags] are about heritage, not hate. Those representing it as hate, we are asking them to stop,” Rick Martin explained. “We’ve got a lot of publicity on these that have been about hate.”
Martin added he feels like the devastating church shooting in South Carolina gave a negative perception of the Confederate flag.
“History can’t be erased. You can’t change it. Remember the history. Remember how we got where we are today,” he said.
While Martin said he doesn’t agree with everything Obama has done in his two terms, he said he would have liked to have met the president.
“As a former Marine, I wanted to be able to meet him and shake his hand, and thank him for allowing me to serve this great nation,” he said.
Martin and his friend decided to leave their post before President Obama arrived in Tennessee, saying they hoped they had spread some positive knowledge about the flag.
He also said he will be traveling to South Carolina for an upcoming Ku Klux Klan rally.
Martin said he will not be participating in the rally, but will be there to let members know they shouldn’t be using the Confederate flag to spread hate.