With a name like Dixie Flags, you might think the San Antonio-based business would be the last place on earth that would banish Confederate flags — you would be wrong.
After 57 years in a business started by his parents, Pete Van de Putte said that Dixie Flag will no longer make or sell the Confederate battle flag.
In an interview with the San Antonio Express-News this week, Van de Putte says that in conversations with manufacturers and suppliers, they have all decided to stop making or shipping the controversial flag.
“My official opinion is now that it is an offensive item and we will not sell it,” Pete Van de Putte said. “The industry opinion changed and I’m part of the industry. So, I won’t sell the flag.”
Just to make the record clear, Pete Van de Putte is the husband of former Texas State Senator Liticia Van de Putte, most recently a candidate for Mayor of San Antonio and for Texas Lieutenant Governor. After losing her race against Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in November, she lost in the June 13th mayoral runoff election. Mrs. Van de Putte is not employed by her husband’s company nor does she have direct ownership.
The Dixie Flag website does show three other Confederate national flags, and Van de Putte said his company will continue to sell flags associated with the former Confederate States of America for historic reasons. “I just feel strongly this is a bona fide historic flag,” he said. Sales were running around two dozen flags per day in the first part of the week before his decision was made.
In a normal month, they sold less than a half dozen. He cited a recent order by an African-American man who requested the “biggest Confederate flag” the company had. He intended to burn the flag to teach a historic lesson to his daughter he said. “If we weren’t selling that flag, he wouldn’t have a flag to burn.”
When asked about the company’s name, he allows that his parents started the business in 1958, and the name comes from the area they serviced, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. “My dad didn’t have a racist bone in his body,” Mr. Van de Putte said.
And while bowing to societal pressure to stop the sale of the battle flag, Dixie Flags will continue to sell flags including the LGBT Rainbow flag, and national flags of Syria, North Korea and Israel. “That’s the business we’re in and many of the flags that we sell I’m sure someone could find offensive,” Pete Van de Putte said.
In an interview with the San Antonio Business Journal, Van de Putte added “We don’t need to promote symbols that divide, we need to promote symbols that unite people.”
Following the June 17th shooting in Charleston South Carolina, EBay, Walmart, Amazon and Sears have halted the sale of all materials containing the Rebel “Stars and Bars” because of claims made it incited the violence. The groundswell has spread to the state capital in Montgomery, Alabama where Gov. Robert Bentley sent a work crew to take down four different Confederate flags on the grounds. This is the same capital where Jefferson Davis was sworn in as the first and only Confederate president on February 18th, 1861. The first Confederate national flag made its debut on March 4th, 1861.
Rob Milford is a news contributor to Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Facebook.