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"As a proud American I object to oppression of any kind," the singer states on his website. "To me, the battle flag represents remembrance of my Southern lineage -- I am a descendant of Confederate soldiers who followed that flag into battle. I advocate for the preservation of America's battlefields and honest conversation about our country's history. To those who view the flag as a symbol of racism, that was not my message and I did not intend offense."
Trace isn't the only artist who has proudly displayed the symbol. Lynyrd Skynyrd used the Confederate Flag on stage for 40 years, before removing it due to the association with certain racist groups. But after listening to the opinions of their fans, they returned it to their stage, saying, "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."
Trace was halfway around the world, performing as part of a USO tour in Japan, when he issued the statement. He will return to the states in time to serve as co-host for the American Country Awards, along with Kristin Chenoweth, on Monday, Dec. 10.
The ACAs will air live from Las Vegas at 8:00 PM ET on FOX.