Adler Not Waving the Rebel Flag

Mayor will not march in Vet parade with Confederate banners

Mayor Steve Adler announced this week he will forgo tomorrow’s annual Veterans Day parade, and will instead spend Saturday working a volunteer shift at the Central Texas Food Bank. “I will not be marching in the Congress Avenue parade,” he said, “because that parade will include groups carrying the Confederate flag.”

Mayor Steve Adler (Photo by John Anderson)

In a statement released Thursday, the mayor continued: “Veterans Day should only be about honoring United States Military Veterans. Symbols of racism, Civil War secession, and white supremacy should not be forgotten or erased, but they need to be remembered and studied in museums and classrooms not cheered and applauded in parades.” Parade organizers had decided not to allow display of the notorious Confederate “battle flag” (aka “the stars and bars”), but are allowing the less well known official Confederate flag (see below).

Adler said that while he appreciates the distinction as a step in the right direction, “it does not go far enough."

“The articles of secession adopted by the Texas Legislature were based in significant part on support for slavery. We must remember, but not celebrate, the Confederacy which had as its ‘corner-stone,’ according to its Vice President Stephens, ‘…that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery – subordination to the superior race – is his natural and normal condition.’ The flag in the parade is a symbol of that moment. We should all know, but not celebrate, that flag.”

The mayor’s office also disputed a statement released by the Austin Veterans Day Parade Committee that a “compromise” had been worked out between the mayor and Confederate representatives to allow both to participate in the parade. Mayoral spokeswoman Amy Everhart released an email exchange with Jim Darwin of the Parade Committee, noting that the mayor had informed the committee of his decision on September 20: “I want to spend that day honoring United States Veterans and am not comfortable marching in a parade that honors the Confederacy.”

Flag of the Confederate States of America

The mayor also cited correspondence with the Congressional Research Service confirming that Confederate soldiers are not considered veterans under federal law. “It remains my preference to participate in a Veterans Day event that honors United States veterans, as defined by law,” wrote the mayor, “and in a manner consistent with this community’s values.”

The mayor has taken a certain amount of social media heat for his decision, and has received praise as well. In another post on his website (, he encourages Austinites to honor veterans, perhaps through support of the Central Texas Food Bank, which he says helps veterans in two ways:

“First, about a quarter of all the households served by the Central Texas Food Bank have someone at home who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces or as a member of the military reserve or National Guard.

“Second, the Central Texas Food Bank operates a monthly Mobile Food Bank at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System’s Austin Outpatient Clinic.”

The mayor also touts Sunday’s concert at Stubb's – the Red, White & Blues 512 concert to raise money for Austin’s homeless veterans – featuring Shinyribs, Carolyn Wonderland, Mingo Fishtrap, and Nakia & the Blues Grifters. Doors open at 4pm, with music continuing through 8:30pm. See Stubbs’ website for tickets.

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Steve Adler
Mayor Adler on How the 86th Legislature Will Affect Austin
Adler on the Lege
“Something’s going to have to give. It’s real.”

Michael King, May 29, 2019

The Mayor's State of the City Is … Mixed
Mayor's State of the City
Adler touts city initiatives, decries “shadow” of state backlash

Michael King, April 18, 2019

More Veterans Day
Day Trips & Beyond: November Events Roundup
Day Trips & Beyond: November Events Roundup
Learn something new and explore what's out there this fall

Gerald E. McLeod, Nov. 2, 2023

Take a Journey With Healing Veterans in 'The Battle Back Home'
Take a Journey With Healing Veterans in 'The Battle Back Home'
MSNBC to air Wounded Warrior Project docu-series

Monica Riese, Nov. 9, 2013

More by Michael King
Point Austin: The Abbott and GOP Project Is an Exercise in Brute Political Cynicism
Point Austin: The Abbott and GOP Project Is an Exercise in Brute Political Cynicism
What’s at stake in Texas

June 12, 2024

Point Austin: Everything Old Is New Again
Point Austin: Everything Old Is New Again
The long, honorable history of students “disturbing the war”

May 4, 2024


Steve Adler, Veterans Day, Confederate flags

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle