Over the years, the Confederate Flag has come to mean different things to different people. And while it is rightly associated with the Civil War and the South's defining symbol of the time, there are others who look at the flag as an enduring symbol of the South with a sense of pride. But with the recent shooting deaths of nine black people by a white gunman in a Charleston, S.C. church last month, the flag and its symbolism has once again become a hot topic debate.

In a recent interview with Sticks for Stones, current Hellyeah and former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul was asked about the controversy, as Pantera utilized the Confederate flag in their merch and on the late Dimebag Darrell's guitar. The Texas-bred rocker stated, "All I’m going to say is it’s a big knee jerk reaction to something that happened. It’s unfortunate that people are like that, they want to point a finger at something you know."

He adds, "Honestly, this country was built on freedom of speech and freedom of expression and when you can no longer do that, then it is no longer based on that you know. It’s a touchy thing you know and that’s really all I’m going to say about it. I just think that it doesn’t follow what the country was built on/what it was based on. To me that blows, but that’s how it is man."

Earlier this week, Paul's onetime Pantera bandmate Philip Anselmo also weighed in on the topic. And while Pantera utilized the Confederate flag in some of their merch, Anselmo had a little different take on how he views things these days.

“I think, really, where the use of the rebel flag or Confederate flag with us really came from was our love of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and whatnot and s–t like that,” Anselmo tells Hard Rock Haven. “There was never a time when it was okay to promote hate without a little bit of the tongue in the cheek, you know? It was never this blatant thing, unless I was completely out of my mind, which I was at points in time. And I’ll own that for damn sure, but that was a long-ass time ago. I’m coming up on 47 years old… and I think that if it’s upsetting enough to people in general, you know, I guess… This is tough to say without taking any side… Like I said, I can see where if people see it as a symbol of hate, then.”

“These days, I wouldn’t want anything to f—ing do with it, because, truthfully… I wouldn’t,” Anselmo adds. “I wouldn’t want much to f—ing do with it at all ... You see a Confederate flag out there that says ‘Heritage, not hate.’ I’m not so sure I’m buying into that, you know?”

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