(See update at bottom of the story)
Saying it has "nothing to do with slavery," a Minnesota firefighter flew a Confederate flag off the back of his firetruck during a 4th of July parade reports the Star-Tribune.
The Hartland firetruck -- taking part in the parade in the town of Albert Lea -- was driven by Brian Nielsen, a firefighter for about 10 years with the department who said he was not endorsing slavery but was fed up with what he called “political correctness.”
“My view is that PC is going too far taking things out of history,” Nielsen said. “It has nothing to do with slavery. I don’t see color, black or white. We’re all equal.”
The Confederate flag, flown over southern troops who took up arms against the United States as they fought for the right to keep slaves, was viewed as inappropriate on a day when Americans were celebrating independence, with the event organizer calling its inclusion "unfortunate."
“My personal view is that it was unfortunate,” said Randy Kehr of the Albert Lea Chamber of Commerce. “Certainly, it’s within their right. It’s a difficult situation. … It’s a part of history. It truly is.”
The flag, which has once again become an object of scorn after pictures of Dylann Roof, who slaughtered nine black churchgoers in a Charleston church, were published online showing him flaunting the flag.
The flag has since been pulled down in multiple states, with South Carolina planning to vote to remove it from a flagpole in front of the state capital building.
According to Kehr, he said he would have asked Nielsen to not fly it had it been brought to his attention before the parade began
Nielsen said the Confederate flag’s display was his decision alone and he didn't think he needed his department’s approval, saying he was surprised people would object.