Man who carved controversial carousel horse bearing Confederate - WNEM TV 5

Man who carved controversial carousel horse bearing Confederate flag 'hurt' by decision to remove

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

"I’m very shocked that she would've pulled that horse off from there. I would not have done it."

Gerald Willis said he is hurt and disappointed by the decision of officials at the Saginaw children's zoo to remove the confederate military pony from the carousel and placing it in storage.

Willis spent four months sculpting the horse. He's an avid Confederate flag supporter and said he can't believe all his hard work is being swept under the rug.

"I fly the confederate flag two days a year. Because of Flag Day and it's an American flag. And I don't see any race on it. There are those who do but I think they may be racist," Willis said.

But Nancy Parker, the zoo's executive director, said she's heard an earful from the community, receiving dozens of calls about the controversial horse.

"The flag is of concern. That it was much a symbol of hurt and of people that were harmed," Parker said.

Parker believes the horse has a place. However that place is not at this facility.

"It's part of our history. It's part of the fight. But some of that history belongs more in a museum than a place where we're trying to have children have fun," Parker said.

But Willis disagrees and said he would like to see the decision reversed.

"Under the first amendment we have the right to have a Confederate flag on a horse on the carousel," Willis said.

Zoo officials said they are sensitive to the growing backlash against the Confederate flag. This all comes after a white man killed nine people in a black church in South Carolina earlier this summer.

Willis said those folks who died deserve justice. But removing the Confederate flag from a children's ride is going overboard.

"I think that idiot in South Carolina, my goodness he should be put in prison for the rest of his life. That's a shame. But it has no bearing on our horse here. None," Willis said.

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