Sons of Confederate Veterans don’t want to be in Paducah Veterans Day Parade

PADUCAH — The Sons of Confederate Veterans said they no longer want to participate in Paducah’s Veterans Day Parade. That’s a major reversal in a controversy that’s been ongoing for almost two years.

In 2017, Paducah passed a resolution barring any flag from the parade except the American flag and all military flags. Last year, city leaders told the SCV they were not allowed in the parade at all.

City Commissioner Richard Abraham is working with the SCV on a new deal that would rescind the current resolution. It would restrict any groups from walking in the parade who represent veterans before World War I.

“They’ve asked us not to be in the parade, not to fly the flag, and we’ve asked them to rescind the resolution. It’s very simple,” said Randy Beeler, a member of SCV.

The restriction does not include the Daughters of the American Revolution.

With the help of the SCV, they both drafted an agreement for the commission to consider about the veterans day parade.

It reads:

THE AGREEMENT

Let these statements stand to declare that The City of Paducah, Kentucky and The SCV General Lloyd Tilghman Camp 1495 have come to an agreement that is satisfactory to the representatives of both groups.  Let it be known that the Honorable Mayor of Paducah, Brandi Harless and The National Chief of Staff of Headquarters Mechanized Cavalry, Captain Randy Beeler, affirm that the resolution adopted by the City of Paducah, May 16, 2017,  will be hereby null and void, at the signing of this document.  Captain Beeler states that the SCV will not take legal action against the City of Paducah (regarding this resolution) as it is rescinded with this agreement.  He further affirms that the SCV will cease their vigil regarding the aforementioned resolution, of the City of Paducah Commission meetings.  As Captain Beeler stated in “The Proposal” he presented to the City of Paducah, the “signing of the Armistice, November 11, 11 a.m. , 1918, addresses World War I veterans to present day.  With the exception of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which has been an intricate part since the beginning of the Veterans Day Parade (ie no SCV Battle Flag).” Mayor Harless and Captain Beeler recognize the great privilege of honoring all Veterans of the United States of America. Exercising extreme sensitivity to those who have suffered unwarranted distress, from the misuse of the Battle Flag of the Confederacy, because it was hijacked by hate groups over the years, the SCV agree that if they choose to apply for participation in future Paducah Veterans Day Parades, that they will kindly and respectively refrain from causing more undue distress upon those who may feel intimidated  and the SCV will show unity with the City by joining in the Celebration Honoring those warriors who chose to present themselves available to ‘Give All” for their country.  This will be accomplished by, if they choose to apply for  participation and if they choose to display a flag, displaying the flag of our unity with all Americans, the Flag of the United States of America.

Abraham says this is the best for all parties involved.

“You would think the only thing that’s going on in Paducah is a Confederate billboard, and a Confederate flag, and a Veterans Day Parade — back in November,” Abraham said. “We’re better than that.”

Earlier Tuesday, Abraham sent WPSD a letter he planned to present during the commissioner comments in addition to the above agreement. He did neither, and said said he wasn’t confident he had the votes for the agreement.

“I’ve been around here a long time. It wasn’t there, and that’s OK,” Abraham said. “My job is to do what I feel I need to do when situation arise that I can put something together try to heal a situation.”

Sons of Confederate Veterans were at the meeting and did not publicly speak about the parade.

The city manager did send the agreement to commissioners and Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless Monday — it did not contain the letter we received Tuesday.

I offered Harless a chance to read the letter before responding.

“I don’t have time to read it tonight,” said Harless  “I have not seen that letter, so I don’t know how I would speak on that.”

The letter also says by signing the agreement the SCV will not sue the city about their first amendment rights and stop protesting the city’s decision at meetings.

Abraham would like to bring the new agreement to a vote at the next meeting.