OKLAHOMA CITY -- Hundreds of Confederate battle flags flew proudly outside the state Capitol Saturday afternoon, at a rally organized to celebrate southern heritage and Civil War veterans.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans organized the rally as part of a nationwide event to bring attention to what the group stands for and what it stands against.
"That is the flag that our ancestors fought under and we clearly distinguish between us and those who use it improperly," said Larry Logan, adjutant of an SCV camp in Moore.
"People like to stereotype us and that's unfair to us because we're God-fearing, law-abiding, tax-paying, salt-of-the-Earth Americans. We're proud of this country, and we're proud of our ancestors that were Confederate soldiers."
People from across the state and even other states paraded to Oklahoma City, flags in tow. The rally featured a rifle salute, Confederate
The rally featured a rifle salute, Confederate songs and speakers who railed against political correctness and the stereotypes they say are lodged against them.
"They were good people," Logan said of Confederate soldiers. "They weren't some evil people running around trying to overthrow the United States government. They were fighting for a just cause, they were fighting for their independence, and we're very proud to be descendants of those men."
Pressure has mounted against the Confederate flag. Some have called it a racist symbol of American slavery.
In July, lawmakers in South Carolina voted to take the flag down from its capitol building. The decision followed a shooting at a local church, where a white gunman killed nine black people inside.
Photos later surfaced of the gunman holding the Confederate battle flag, which he apparently revered as a symbol of white supremacy.
"Confederate soldiers and their descendants have been under assault the last year with all the things going on," Logan said.
A press release for the rally declared:
"The Sons of Confederate Veterans condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of the Confederate Battle Flag or any other flag, seal, title or name bearing any relationship whatsoever to the Confederate States of America or the armed forces of that Government of the Confederate States of America by individuals or groups of individuals, organized or unorganized, who espouse political extremism or racial superiority"
Some more political groups were present at the rally, including Oklahoma Resistance, a group stating on Facebook it is "sick and tired of the liberal machine’s attempts to push us around."
"The Confederate Flag represents what we represent: less government and more freedom," said founder Allen Branch. "I don't fly the flag for racism. I fly it for my heritage."