Daniel Argueta, his wife, and their five children refused to stand for the national anthem before a demolition derby on Sept.10 because the event organizers flew a Confederate flag at the West Jordan Fair Grounds in Utah (video below).
The Confederate flag flew on the back of a truck, along with the American flag and the Gadsden flag, which is often flown by the Tea Party.
Argueta told the Deseret News that he has "no problem standing up for our flag and the men and women in uniform, we support them 100 percent," and added:
But to ask us to stand and have the Confederate flag there, that was kind of insulting. You don't expect to be asked to rise and salute the flag when the Confederate flag is in the same spot as the U.S. flag. You don't get asked that, especially by an event where the city sponsors it.
The city of West Jordan contracted with Stirrin' Dirt Racing to put on the event.
"From a city's perspective, we're very disappointed," West Jordan spokeswoman Kim Wells said. "We didn't know that was a part of the show."
Wells said the Confederate flag was "in very poor taste," and stated: "We’re very surprised and we apologize. We certainly didn’t mean to make people feel uncomfortable."
Jim Simko, a co-owner of Stirrin' Dirt Racing, recalled that the truck driver and an assistant added the Confederate flag on their own:
When he pulled out, we looked at the back of the truck and there were two American flags, a military flag of some sort and a Confederate flag. At that point, it was too late. It was already in the arena. Next thing we know we got a phone call saying somebody got offended by the flag.
According to Simko, the driver was asked to remove the Confederate flag, which has a long history representing the slavery and oppression of black people.
I honestly think that this is blown way out of proportion. It wasn't politically correct, I'm sure, for some people. But there's some people who look at that flag and say this is the land of the free. It shouldn't have happened, but I can't, unfortunately, watch what everybody does at every minute.
Simko stated that he and the driver would apologize to people who were offended, and offered the offended folks some free tickets to another event.
Argueta recalled that the Confederate flag was flown for about an hour on the truck before the national anthem, and added:
It wasn't until we were leaving and we actually said something to one of the representatives here that they actually took the flag down.
What's awkward is our kids understood what it meant. My son asked me, "Dad, are we really going to stand with the Confederate flag there?" And as a father, it's a hard decision, especially in the spur of the moment, but the right thing to do was protest.
Two of Argueta's children shared their feelings with KSTU.
"When I saw the Confederate flag, I didn’t want to stand because it meant slavery," Jasmine, 10, said.
"Disgusted, and I was angry," Lillian, 13, added.