"You can't take it out on the flag — the flag had nothing to do with it"

Jeremy Gouge, a 44-year-old roofer, says family ties to the South are why he proudly flies a Confederate battle flag on a pole in his front yard, on a quiet residential street not far from Chronister’s home.

“I know there’s things that happened to slaves and things. I can’t control what other people have done,” Gouge said. “What’s the next flag that someone is going to say, ‘We don’t like that flag, let’s take that one down?'”

It’s hardly the only place where Confederate flags fly in northern states. Hannah Alberstadt said she was surprised to see many of them in her hometown of Girard in northwestern Pennsylvania.

“My town has always had sort of a hickish contingent, but it’s like every other day I see another Confederate flag, and it’s just shocking,” she said. “These people are definitely trying to make a statement, because people have them waving from their truck beds, people have them on a stick in their front yards, people are wearing them to the grocery store.”