Neighbors at odds with history buff for flying Confederate flag in his backyard

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A man is defending his decision to fly a Confederate flag in his backyard as a reminder of U.S. history. (KTRK)

Joe Ryan says he just wanted to honor the Confederates.

The Civil War historian is drawing ire from his neighbors after he decided to fly the Confederate flag on the Fourth of July.

Ryan told KCAL-TV the flag is similar to one that young Americans on the Union battle line at Gettysburg would have carried during Independence Day.

Historic or not, his neighbors say they don't want to see it in their community.

While Ryan admits the Civil War is complicated, he said he wanted to raise the flag as a reminder of America's past as well as the racial history of our country, still being written today.

"We're not facing our racism, let me put it to you that way," he said. "We're pretending like the problem is solved."

The flag has been used in the battle to keep slavery, in the 1950s and 1960s to support segregation, and much more.

Cindy Dunbar said she was uncomfortable when she saw Ryan's flag flapping in his backyard.

"I'm not sure that a flag flying offers that much in terms of enlightening all of us. Instead, it feels distasteful," said Cindy Dunbar. "The Confederate flag, to me, is representative of a painful and hateful time in our society, one that I do not want to want to look to the past for, but one I want move past."

City officials are considering the issue, but Ryan has since taken the flag down.

He says, however, his right to fly the flag is well within his First Amendment rights.
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societyconfederate flagu.s. & worldCalifornia