Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Prattville Dragoons' Commander's Column for May 2016

I spoke at our recent picnic about those in society today and even in our own community who take offense at our espousing and advancing the Cause.  Of course since Christmas we were made aware that there were a few spectators who resented our participation in the Prattville Christmas parade.  This despite our distributing to appreciative even adoring friends along the parade route bags of candy and hundreds of Confederate Battle mini-flags and SCV coins, the latter which were cited specifically as offensive.  Some people will choose to be offended simply to make a statement to advance their own cause.  But our society has suddenly gone overboard with political correctness run amuck, pandering to relieve any and all alleged objections and soothe all offense despite the majority opinion. The recent UDC Confederate Memorial Day event in Montgomery was marred by protestors who supposedly objected to the state holiday and the display of the Battle flag and simply the presence there of Confederate compatriots.  But these protestors chose to interrupt the most solemn portion of the program where people in attendance state the names of their deceased Confederate veteran ancestors.  Bad taste?  The protestors also chose to carry weapons on the grounds of the state capital including brandishing a shotgun and loaded bandolier in an attempt to intimidate.  Criminal?  Taking offense or attempting to advance their own militant cause and anarchy? 

Those who were offended by the display of the Confederate Battle flag advanced their position last year with the removal of the flag from designated historical monuments and grounds across the nation.  To what end?   In Gainesville FL, the monument at the Veterans Park was vandalized.  This monument honors only recent veterans from World War II thru the Vietnam conflict.  Someone evidently objected to this display which one would have thought to be universally appreciated.  So the defacing of Confederate monuments and desecration of the graves of Confederate veterans should hardly be surprising. I wrote the city of New Orleans to object to the removal of the monuments erected to honor Confederate heroes there warning that the same basis for the removal of these could and certainly would be applied to the hero of New Orleans, Andrew Jackson.  Not a chance I was told. Catch the recent news of the movement to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriett Tubman? 

Nonetheless the criminal vandalizing of historic memorials must stop.  The attempts to erase our heritage and history must stop.  The Monument and Heritage Protection Bill must pass the Alabama legislature into law to protect the rightful honor and consideration of our history and past patriots.
From Fox News published March 29, 2016, “A California college student who claimed to have found a pro-Donald Trump message (#Trump 2016) scrawled on the whiteboard outside her dorm room last week was so shaken that someone nearby might support the GOP frontrunner that she alerted campus police, according to a report.  Although the message was not derogatory, Minjoo Kim, student body president at Scripps College claimed the unidentified student perceived it as such because of her ethnicity.  Kim said she alerted campus police to the “racist … violence” of the message, which simply read #trump2016. This racist act is completely unacceptable,” Kim wrote. “Regardless of your political party, this intentional violence committed directly to a student of color proves to be another testament that racism continues to be an undeniable problem and alarming threat on our campuses.” Students at Emory in Atlanta similarly claimed to be in “pain” over numerous pro-Donald Trump “chalkings” found across campus recently.”

We must get the Monument and Heritage Protection Bill passed.  But we must combat the attacks on our history and heritage and foster an appreciation and respect through education and through advancing our Cause in community service/events, always as gentlemen.  We may be on the precipice of another revolution, real fundamental change which may alter the destiny of our country as the shining city upon a hill, a beacon of liberty and freedom and strength to the world.  What will our community and our nation look like in 150 more years, at the Sesquicentennial of the new millennium?  How can we leave a lasting imprint on our families, our communities, our state and our country?  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Confederate Memorial Day in Prattville AL

A spirited celebration of Confederate Memorial Day was enjoyed by the Prattville Dragoons and friends on Monday 25 April at the Dragoon monuments in downtown Prattville.  The location at the corner of Washington and Wetumpka Streets was the site of the departure of the Dragoons in 1861 as they left their families in defense of their homeland in the War for Southern Independence.  

Commander Stuart Waldo welcomed all guests and dignitaries including our local state representative in attendance. Bob Miller played the bagpipes including such songs as Scotland The Brave to open and Amazing Grace during the laying of the wreath. and more. Camp Chaplain Tom Snowden sang some good ole Southern Gospel songs and led our prayers in memory of the Dragoons and all Confederate soldiers. The 33rd Alabama Re-enactors led  by Col. Paul Whaley presented colors, laid the wreath at the monuments and then assembled as a Campfire Band to play and sing period songs such as Battle Cry of Freedom, Goober Peas and of course, DIXIE. 

There was an enthusiastic crowd of about 45 who showed their appreciation for the music program and the memorial ceremony and the singing continued even after the ceremony ended.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Tour of the Historic Ellerslie Home in Millbrook AL

"Ellerslie," Circa 1818 in Millbrook Alabama, will be the site of some history lessons and story telling April 30th, and open to the public.

The event is hosted by Jeanne Hall and the Elmore/Autauga News from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday April 30th.  Light refreshments will be served.

Rarely open to the public, it is an excellent opportunity to see the area's first home, built circa 1818 by Revolutionary War veteran and Georgia Congressman Bolling Hall. All are welcome for a free tour of the house, grounds, and cemetery.  There will be a reenactor honor guard posted in the cemetery where eight Confederate veterans are buried.

The home is located at 2650 Edgewood Rd, coming from Main Street, just before Lanark Road. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Prattville Dragoons Conduct Cemetery Workday

A hard working crew of dedicated Dragoons cleaned up two local cemeteries Saturday morning April 23rd. After months of hard work in 2014 and 2015 to reclaim Indian Hill from nature, this clean up lasted only about 2 hours and it was practically sparkling when work was finished. A great showing of ten compatriots from Camp 1524 made short work of cutting back the spring grass and undergrowth at Indian Hill Cemetery using weed whackers, mowers, swing blades and rakes. Members participating included James and Larry Spears, Skip Ward, Bill Myrick, Wayne Sutherland, Allen Herrod, Philip Edwards, Tom Crowley, Harold Grooms and Stuart Waldo.  

A caravan of workers then travelled the short distance to Autaugaville where clean up began of a smaller cemetery where some Confederate veterans are interred. This cemetery is across from Mount Zion Baptist Church in a wooded bluff across County Road 45 off Hwy-14.  This cemetery has a number of graves from the Hall family and contains two Confederate veterans graves, Pvt Samuel Jones and Capt Green Thompson (a doctor), Company G, 6th Alabama Infantry and Dr. The spring undergrowth at this cemetery was very dense and as there was a gathering at the church across the road, the workers used just hand tools instead of power tools to keep any noise down.  Great progress was made by Grooms, Herrod and Waldo who stayed despite the church traffic to work on this project.  The veterans and other persons buried at these two cemeteries now have a respectable final resting place and it is our duty to maintain them as well as the Robinson Springs cemetery for which Camp 1524 are Sons of Confederate Veterans Guardians. 
Indian Hill Work Crew

Autaugaville Work Crew After Clearing

Autaugaville Cemetery Before

Autaugaville Cemetery Before

Autaugaville Cemetery Before

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Confederate Memorial Day Programs Announced for Monday April 25th - All Inviited

Monday, April 25 is Confederate Memorial Day holiday in Alabama. There are two wonderful ceremonies scheduled for that day and we need as many Dragoons, friends, and neighbors to attend both if possible. Everyone in the community is invited.  The first ceremony is at the Confederate Memorial Monument on the state capitol grounds which the UDC is sponsoring at 10:00am. The SCV will have a presence at the ceremony with color guard and greeters. The speaker will be the Reverend Von McQueen of Selma. This is always a superb memorial occasion which will certainly be enjoyable. Bob Miller will play the bagpipes as part of this event as well as the following event in Prattville Monday evening. 

The second ceremony that day will be the  Camp 1524 commemoration at the Dragoon monuments at the Prattville Primary School property on Washington St. at 6:00 pm. This will be a terrific concert featuring three performances by Bob Miller on bagpipes, a reenactor Campfire Band, and gospel songs by Chaplain Tom Snowden. The reenactors will also providde a color guard and the presentation of a wreath to honor the memory of the Dragoons who met at this spot to ride to defend their country in 1861. Local political office holders are also invited to attend. Bring your folding chair to sit down and enjoy some great musical talent. 

We need excellent participation at our local Confederate Memorial Day ceremonies! Our support of this event will show our neighbors and communities how much we love our Confederate ancestors.  Alll Confederate compatriots are invited - these are not just camp events but public celebrations. Please make a special effort to attend and bring people with you including family and friends.  If we all come and bring just one guest, we would have a tremendous crowd to celebrate Confederate Memorial Day for 2016!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Prattville Dragoons Spring Picnic

The Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524 annual picnic was held yesterday at Confederate Memorial Park in Mountain Creek AL and was a huge success. Approximately 55 members and guests attended and enjoyed good fellowship, excellent food and superb entertainment. The first thing that morning, as is customary at the spring picnic, battle flags were placed at every grave in the two park cemeteries.  Some 23 members and guests participated in placing the flags  It was a beautiful sight, the Battle Flags waving in the breeze across the cemeteries. One of the attached pictures shows a portion of Cemetery #2 that was flagged. 

As part of the picnic program, before dinner, we had the honor of swearing in Brother Terry Fitzpatrick for membership. A picture is attached showing him being sworn in by Chaplain Tom Snowden. Terry’s story is very unique….he has been a member for some three years but has never met us since his residence is in Honolulu, Hawaii. Terry was visiting his sister and brother in law, Linda and Ron Davis, who are UDC and SCV members, respectively. Terry was excited to meet his Dragoon brothers at long last, enjoyed the event and made a special donation to the camp to continue camp community events and initiatives. 

Past Brigade Commander Bill Myrick swore in the Dragoons Camp officers for the 2016-2017 year. Commander Waldo offered a welcome to all in attendance and presented a short message on the struggle against public objection to our Cause and message of Southern heritage and history education.  Of course the main event was enjoying the picnic dinner.  Food lines were set up offering tasty side dishes provided by members and the Dixie butt chopped pork generously provided by two stalwart camp members, Skip Ward and Bill Hamner.  Good sweet tea and lots of delicious desserts accompanied.  Folks ate under the trees at the picnic tables and folding tables Compatriot Jeff Potts brought for the event. 

Entertainment included Chaplain Snowden with two guests singing old gospel songs which was very fitting as the venue for the picnic this year was the chapel at Confederate Memorial Park. Colby Carlock played his guitar and sang period songs as everyone finished eating.  Superb picking and a great voice.  Commander Waldo showed off a framed Battle Flag which flew on the dome of the South Carolina state capitol building, a gift from a friend whose certificate of authenticity was included behind the framed glass. A beautiful hardcover book on the WBTS was provided by Comm Ofc Larry Spears for auction and a set of CDs of World War II era patriotic songs was provided by Commander Waldo for auction with proceeds for the camp treasury.  Compatriot Fitzpatrick won the book and Quartermaster Bill Myrick won the CD collection.  1st Lt Grooms also provided some toy animal ducks for doorprizes which are always popular.