I attended the Templeton Independence Day Parade and Celebration in the Park and was greeted, as usual, by a unique SLO County celebration of our country and American values.
But in an event celebrating freedom and emancipation, I was disappointed to see multiple parade participants displaying the Confederate flag — a symbol that embodies not only the opposite of American values, but negates the positive and welcoming tradition of Fourth of July celebrations in Templeton and elsewhere.
A symbol of inequality, the flying of the Confederate flag has no place at a celebration commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence — a document built on the premise that all are created equal.
Although for some, this hateful flag represents freedom of speech. But for the majority of Americans, this symbol of the Confederacy is a reminder not only of a time of great division in American society, but of a time when the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness could be voided for those born of a certain skin color.
In the interest of a friendlier, more inclusive and more American parade, organizers should be sure to exclude the Confederate flag from all future events.
Natalia Loken, Atascadero