Echoes from South Carolina filled the Capitol basement Thursday as a commission named the latest finalists for the Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame. Tensions ran high a day after the South Carolina Legislature voted to remove the Confederate flag from its capitol.
NAACP Tallahassee branch president Dale Landry and Sons of Confederate Veterans commander David McCallister of Wesley Chapel clashed briefly in the claustrophobic committee room while the commission took a break.
It took only a few hours for the seven members to whittle a list of 31 candidates submitted by the public to just eight.
McCallister nominated two Florida confederates, but a staff attorney told commission members that Civil War veterans didn’t qualify. On Monday, McCallister disrupted a Cabinet ceremony honoring last year’s inductees when he shouted and waved flags.
Republican Representative Jimmie Smith of Inverness, who is also a commission member, tried briefly to broker a truce between McCallister and Landry.