Taylor Hill, FilmMagic
"I wanted to clarify the discussion of the Confederate Flag in our recent CNN interview," band member Gary Rossington shares on Skynyrd's official website. "Myself, the past and present members (that are from the South), are all extremely proud of our heritage and being from the South. We know what the Dixie flag represents and its heritage; the Civil War was fought over States rights.
"We still utilize the Confederate (Rebel) flag on stage every night in our shows, we are and always will be a Southern American Rock band, first and foremost," the guitarist continues. "We also utilize the state flag of Alabama and the American flag, because at the end of the day, we are all Americans. I only stated my opinion that the Confederate flag, at times, was unfairly being used as a symbol by various hate groups, which is something that we don't support the flag being used for. The Confederate flag means something more to us, Heritage not Hate."
The "Sweet Home Alabama" singers originally said they had stopped using the flag because of the prevalence of the flag as a symbol with certain racist groups.
"It became such an issue about race," Gary explained to CNN earlier this month. "We had it in the beginning because we were Southern, and that was our image back in the 70s and late 60s, because they branded us as being from the south, so we showed that. But through the years, people like the KKK and skinheads and people have kind of kidnapped the rebel flag from the southern tradition and the heritage of the soldiers -- that's what it was about -- and they made it look bad in certain ways."
Lynyrd Skynyrd will have plenty of time to showcase the Confederate flag in the next few months. The band is spending much of the next few months on the road, in support of their latest album, Last of a Dyin' Breed. See a list of their upcoming concerts here.