Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet rejected nominations of three Confederate soldiers for the Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame Tuesday after being told they weren’t eligible because they didn’t serve in the U.S. military.
Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans argued they should be included because they honorably served the state and became prominent citizens after the Civil War.
But the state NAACP opposed their nomination. Tallahassee NAACP President Dale Landry said the men symbolized a time of hatred and slavery in U.S. history and that inducting them would be like flying a Confederate flag over the Capitol.
The men included Edward A. Perry, who became governor of Florida; Samuel W. Pasco, who became a U.S. senator and for whom Pasco County is named; and David Lang, who became Florida adjutant general and is considered by some the father of the Florida National Guard, according to information submitted with their nominations.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam initially suggested inducting Lang because of his National Guard service. But David Herman, general counsel for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, said he would be eligible only if he had been called to active duty for purposes other than training.
The Cabinet, which also includes Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, asked that the department and its Hall of Fame seek clarification of laws and policies on inductees.
“Confederate people were honorable. They came back from the war, became citizens, went forward from that point,” said David Lang, former Leon County court clerk and great-grandson of the nominee. “They fought for the state of Florida.”
But Landry said the three “fought against the union and symbolize a dark time in America’s and our state’s history.” He compared the Confederacy to other enemies that the veterans in the Hall of Fame have fought against, including modern-day terrorists.
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.