HOLLYWOOD - MAY 25: The band Lynyrd Skynyrd arrives at the American Idol Finale: Results Show held at the Kodak Theatre on May 25, 2005 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The classic rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd has decided, despite backlash from fans, to continue its prominent use of the Confederate flag.

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The group had initially told CNN that they planned to do away with the Civil War symbol because it had become a representation of hate and racism in America after groups like the Ku Klux Klan adopted it.

The band, which is closely identified with its southern roots, defended their continued use of the flag via a released statement on their Facebook page, which read:

I wanted to clarify the discussion of the Confederate Flag in our recent CNN interview. Myself, the past and present members (that are from the South), are all extremely proud of our heritage and being from the South. We know what the Dixie flag represents and its heritage; the Civil War was fought over States rights.

We still utilize the Confederate (Rebel) flag on stage every night in our shows, we are and always will be a Southern American Rock band, first and foremost. We also utilize the state flag of Alabama and the American flag, ‘cause at the end of the day, we are all Americans.

I only stated my opinion that the confederate flag, at times, was unfairly being used as a symbol by various hate groups, which is something that we don’t support the flag being used for. The Confederate flag means something more to us, Heritage not Hate…

-Gary Rossington

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