Confederate 'soldier' asks children if they 'want bullets' during Arkansas Christmas parade

A man dressed up as a Confederate soldier at a Christmas parade in Springdale, Ark., when asked by children if he had candy, replied, "I've got bullets. Want bullets?" Photo from Facebook video by user Thunder Man

Children and families lined the streets of Springdale, Arkansas last Saturday night for a Christmas parade. While waiting for Santa to arrive on his sleigh, children looked at floats and yelled for candy.

Then, a white pickup truck with Confederate flags appeared in the procession. It had a flatbed trailer in tow that served as a platform for two men dressed up as Confederate soldiers, one holding a rifle with a bayonet. A Facebook user called Thunder Man captured the moment on video and posted it to the social media site.

The man filming the parade asked, "Why are there Confederate soldiers out here?"

The full video can be seen here.

One of the dressed up men waved to the section of the crowd where the man was recording.

The trailer slowed to a stop, with children in the background yelling for candy.

"I got bullets," the rifle-wielding soldier replied. "Want bullets?"

After a brief silence, a woman's voice could faintly be heard asking a question.

"Why do you have a rifle with a bayonet on it?" As she repeated her question, the soldier answered.

"I'm looking for Yankees."

The man recording the action followed the Confederate caravan down the street as "Run, Run, Rudolph" piped through stereo speakers. Then a man's voice was heard from behind the video recording device.

"Y'all fighting for slavery?"

"What?" the men replied.

"Y'all fighting for slavery?"

"No. We are against it, sir," another man said from the trailer.

"Isn't that what the South fought for?" The man from the street said.

But the trailer picked up speed and seemed to catch up with the rest of the parade in front of them.

KNWA in nearby Rogers, Arkansas reported the float belonged to the Arkansas Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). The group is an heir to the legacy begun by Confederate soldiers who returned home from the Civil War and formed the group United Confederate Veterans, according to the group's web page.

"In Arkansas, we take particular interest in the preservation and marking of Confederate soldiers' graves, support of historical re-enactment efforts, education of our young people and attendance at regular meetings to discuss the military and political history of the period," the SCV web page says.

Furthermore, the web page says: "The SCV rejects any person or group whose actions tarnish or bring dishonor upon the Confederate soldier or his reason for fighting. This particularly applies to those groups and persons using our cherished flag as symbols for their own dishonorable purposes."

Trip Wilson, the president of the Arkansas SCV organization, told KNWA he saw nothing wrong or illegal, even after he saw the video.

"Some people have a misconception of what Confederate states were and what the war was about and people who have those misconceptions have preconceived ideas of what their feelings are," Wilson said.

The video currently has 11,000 views on Facebook, with comments both for and against SCV.

Sach Oliver, a member of the board for the Rodeo of the Ozarks, the group which sponsored the parade, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that none of the floats in the parade are vetted. The only ones that register ahead of time are the ones to be judged, Oliver said. The rest can just show up on the day of the parade.

"We want to provide happy, positive experiences to help families enjoy the season," Oliver told the Democrat-Gazette. "That anything happened in the parade that was negative, or hurt anybody's feelings, we are sorry."

The Downtown Springdale Alliance is a local nonprofit group that promotes family, fun and entertainment in the town nestled in the Ozarks in the northwest portion of the state. Although the DSA isn't the parade's organizer, it had a stern message for the Confederate float.

"The November 24th Christmas Parade of the Ozarks float featuring the Confederate flag and soldiers was not approved by DSA, nor is its message condoned by our staff or board of directors," DSA said in a statement to KNWA.