Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The danger behind taking down Confederate monuments

The danger behind taking down Confederate monuments,
like ISIS bombing museums
It becomes tiresome pointing out the same old historical half-truths when talking about the War Between the States.
So in the interest of not getting distracted from my main point, let’s ignore the many reasons other than slavery behind the formation of the Confederate States of America (CSA).
Why not? Most do already. Instead, let’s talk about why current politicians’ taking down monuments to CSA soldiers and politicians is far more dangerous than allowing them to remain.
First, a word about symbols. It is entirely possible, and in fact most often the case, that symbols can contain a multitude of meanings.
That meaning is determined by the context in the which the symbol is seen, and by the person the viewer of the symbol is.
You may see the U.S. flag, and feel inspired as it reminds you of patriotism and love of country; citizens of other countries often have a far different interpretation.
I see the cross, and am reminded of the inestimable love of Jesus, while non-Christians may have a negative reaction. And who is to say that one side is wrong?
Symbols do not have meaning separate from the context in which they exist. The meaning is an artificial construct — a red rose is simply a flower until someone from a culture which view both the flower and its color as significant sees it.
That means that it is entirely possible that the person who tells you a Confederate monument or flag represents pride in regional heritage is not in fact racist.
That does not mean that to someone else, the flag or monument does embody racism — usually the argument against the flags of the CSA are predicated on the fact that slavery was an economic issue behind the South’s dissatisfaction with remaining in the Union.
This completely ignores the objective fact that the Union did not disavow slavery upon commencing actions against the CSA, and continued to have slavery be legal in the slave states of the Union even AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation freed some slaves in very specific areas.
It is usually also brought up that racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan have used the flags, again ignoring the role of the U.S. flag in the racist groups’ rallies, etc.
Minus any evidence to the contrary, the fact is that it is the willful ignorance, or conscious ignoring, of these facts that allow politicians and various organizations to manipulate the public through craven appeal to a simplistic understanding.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars — from some unknown source — were used to remove statues and memorials in New Orleans.
Now the mayor can gleefully claim to have fought the nasty racists, and undoubtedly those who have rewarded him with accolades and their applause will continue to congratulate him and his cronies on this grand stand against racism.
It’s an easy — if tawdry — way to get a bump in approval. But at the end of the day, how has it made the life of even one New Orleans minority citizen better?
The supposedly private funds used to destroy part of the history of a city with a large amount of historical tourism might have been used to help rectify the housing shortage which continues to burden the largely minority workforce that enables the tourism industry to succeed.
It could have been used to help transform the lackluster public education system, enabling even the poorest citizens to have confidence that their children were receiving the kind of education which would equip them to take their place in society and be the kind of leaders so desperately needed in New Orleans.
Instead, it went to the wanton destruction of items that had no impact on the day-to-day lives of the very population most in need of having the real legacy of racism erased.
The greatest danger in this kind of empty political stunt is the fact it enables smug, self-satisfied Yankees and “progressive” Southerners to once again make the CSA and the South their racial scapegoat.
Northerners won’t have to grapple with the embedded racism that informed their region in the 1860s, and which continues to this day. Those self-hating Southerners can pretend that they have risen above it.
How glorious to be amongst the non-racists of the United States! How grand to know that there is nothing other than removing those statues that need be done!
The hard work of ensuring equality for all requires all hands on deck.
By seeking to alienate a large portion of citizens who rightly wish to preserve their historical heritage and NOT support racism, those who take advantage of the ignorance and easily swayed opinions of otherwise well-meaning liberals do the cause of freedom, justice and equality an extreme disservice.
It also doesn’t serve our nation in the long run to ignore large chunks of our history and pretend that the complexities of our past just didn’t exist.
It doesn’t advance us; it puts us on the level of ISIS and all those who delight in bombing statues, destroying museums and trying to erase that which doesn’t support their agenda.

CHRISTINE BARR is an educator, mother of four and former Henry County resident who now resides in Texas. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Prattville Dragoons SCV Camp 1524 Meeting for September 2017

The Dragoons had another splendid meeting on Thursday September 14th. Brigade Commander Butch Godwin visited the camp again and was recognized for his help in felling a large pine tree at Indian Hill Cemetery, part of the camp's ongoing care for the cemetery as part of the Guardian program.  The Dragoons also had one former member present himself for reinstatement, a transfer from a sister camp Douglas Butler,  one new member finalize his application and another new member present who has already submitted his application. This is great news as we keep growing as a camp and an organization to carry forth the Charge.  One of the new members has already stepped forward with great ideas for selling Confederate merchandise to help generate money for the camp's activities and has found two overseas suppliers.  

The program for September was a video of a television presentation from the early 1960’s featuring War Between the States music, " A Nation United, The Big Picture". When Dixie was played by the US Army band and sung by the Army choir, everyone stood and sang along. Other songs were featured that were popularized in the north and south and included "The Bonnie Blue Flag" and "Yellow Rose of Texas" as well as the less well received "Battle Hymn of the Republic".  Interesting to note the unity of those in the video presentation honoring both sides from this bloody conflict at the centennial of the War fro Southern Independence, just fifty years ago and contrasting that to today's environment. 

Rob Heyward, a new applicant for membership, gave a report on the Forgotten Alabama Soldier monument dedication that was held at Confederate Memorial Park in Luverne recently. Rob was very impressed with and touched by the dedication service and the friendliness of the hundreds of people attending the event and he gave a great report-out. 

At the end of the meeting, Brigade Commander Godwin surprised us by presenting National awards to Commander Stuart Waldo for Leadership and a National SCV Commendation and medal to Communication Officer Larry Spears.  A very humbling experience for the recipients. Attendance was good with just shy of 30 at the meeting and many enjoyed the special of the night which only cost 70 cents in honor of Shoney’s 70th birthday, another nice surprise. 

Commander Waldo led the camp in the reading of the Charge and presenting the camp news and upcoming events and Chaplain Snowden presented a wonderful devotional as well as the Invocation and Benediction. Compatriot Karl Wade made a number of announcements including a fundraiser for Crimestoppers and the Salvation Army Kettle Ringing which the Dragoons will participate in again this year.  This meeting also marked the first of the canned food drive for the Thanksgiving season where the camp will donate all food raised to a local food bank. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Prattville Dragoons Chaplain's Column for September 2017

From the Camp 1524 Dispatch newsletter.

Chaplain’s Column – Godly Living in an Ungodly Age
Titus 1:1-16
     Our Founding Fathers created a governing framework based upon biblical principles. Slowly, we have changed from “one nation under God” to a group of people who no longer want Him to be involved.
     Tragically, we’ve become, in numerous ways, an ungodly nation: many are driven by materialism and power; immorality and rebellion are prevalent; empty philosophy and false doctrine are widely acceptable. Underlying it all is a vocal decision to take God out of the nation’s “official business.”
     Yet even in an unbelieving society, people can, as individuals, follow Jesus. But the world will continually spread faulty teachings, so believers must be discerning. Otherwise, erroneous messages can lead Christians to compromise their convictions. Then affections and priorities may change. Don’t let the world’s clamor make the Spirit’s voice less audible. Without His guidance, our minds become vulnerable to lies.
     The Word of God is a compass that keeps us headed in the right direction—even in the midst of confusing messages all around. We need to be consistently filled with truth by reading, believing, meditating upon, and applying Scripture. God also tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). If our minds are focused upon Him, unholy beliefs will not be able to take root.
     The Word is our guidebook. We will still face difficulty as we live in this imperfect world—it is a confusing, dark place that entices us but never fulfills our true longings. Yet God’s truth will bring confidence and boldness, and His Spirit will direct and strengthen, enabling us to live victoriously.
     Please remember all of those on our prayer list.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Prattville Dragoons Commander's Column for September 2017

From the Camp 1524 Dispatch newsletter.

Commander's Column: Social Media, Twitter and Fake News

Almost as big as the headlines nowadays are the revelations of fake news produced by the main stream media.  Examples are the eporting on selective polling such as for political election races, selective research such as that pertaining to climate change, distorted public approval surveys for heritage preservation and, virtue signaling thru selective coverage of riotous confrontations such as the reports of the recent melee in Charlottesville .  Many of the news outlets have earned humorous acronyms describing the incoherent editorials presented as some unbelievable brand of journalism.  Many consumers have started to use  social media as an alternative to these agenda driven main stream media outlets.  I have started to read the camp’s Twitter feed in an attempt to receive a more accurate , more pertinent source of news and current events.  President Trump himself has adopted Twitter to communicate his thoughts and decisions directly to the American public to circumvent the bias and misrepresentation of his policies by the MSM.   As part of our camp’s online presence, we have a blof formatted website (theprattvilledragoons.blogspot.com) a Facebook page, as well as a Twitter account (@SCVDragoons) which are constantly updated with current events and activities.  I would encourage you to follow Camp 1524 on one or more of these social media formats. We now have almost 500 followers on Facebook and Twitter. We need voices on social media to further heritage defense and historical accuracy. 
Since the escalation of attacks on heritage preservation efforts there has been a torrent of Twitter posts highlighting the misguided efforts of historical revisionists and outright anarchists to destroy sacred and honored memorials as well as endeavors to preserve heritage sites and the true proud Southern narrative of liberty and bravery exhibited by our ancestors.  I wanted to share some of the Twitter tweets posted on our feed which have elicited a lot of support by heritage activists such as the Virginia Flaggers and many more. Enjoy and follow us at @SCVDragoons.
@SCVDragoons - The beautiful St. Andrew's Cross Confederate Battle Flag. Symbol of resistance to tyranny around the world. (to Quantrill’s Revenge - It's the precise symbol of freedom from Washington tyranny. No different from the original US flag that marked freedom from British tyranny).
@SCVDragoons - Progressive PC posturing. Why would a Citadel alumnus not appreciate and revere the history of the institution? Ridiculous sorry panderers. (to Civil War Saga - Citadel alumni renew pressure to remove Confederate flag from chapel)
@SCVDragoons · Great op-ed by descendent of this great Confederate cavalry General. Don't attempt to erase history. Consider sacrifices they made for VA. (to Confederate Quarrels - J.E.B. Stuart V: Confederate monuments can be a starting point of honest discussion)
@SCVDragoons · Perfectly stated. Just imagine these widows and mothers who lost their sons erecting these statues for ...  glorifying slavery. I think not. (to Confederate Quarrels - Stop ignorance about Confederate monuments)
@SCVDragoons - Sitting in Dallas airport, can't wait to leave with this nauseating news. These bigots are literally trying to out-virtue-signal each other. (to Confederate Quarrels - City Council Resolution Calls for Removal of All Dallas Confederate Monuments)
@SCVDragoons - Vast majority want monuments and historic statues to remain preserved. Richmond monuments are on National Register of Historic Places. Not PC, (to Confederate Quarrels - In the former capital of the Confederacy, the debate over statues is personal and painful)
@SCVDragoons - As do attacks on Confederate soldiers. Those who do need a history lesson. Respect, honor those brave soldiers who defended home and family. (to Attacks on Jefferson come from 'lack of knowledge')
@SCVDragoons - General Lee sought to achieve what already existed? I think not. He sought to defend his family and his home state. Whoever gave Kevin Levin a history degree should lose their accreditation. The US circa 1861-1865 (and before) was a slaveholding republic. (in response to CNN post on SCV members erecting new monuments)
@SCVDragoons - Yes, stand against violent intimidation. Preserve these historic monuments from the uneducated intolerant revisionist anarchist bigots. (to Confederate Quarrels)
@SCVDragoons - Sen. Book needs a book/history lesson. Confederacy didn't declare war on US, Lincoln did by resupplying Sumter and invading Southern states (to Confederate Quarrels - State Senator Files Bill To Eliminate Florida’s Confederate Holidays)
@SCVDragoons - The people of the state should decide. Otherwise PC grandstanding progressive local pols will undermine will of people/law like B'ham AL mayor. (to Confederate Quarrels - At Issue: Who should decide if Confederate monuments stay or go?)
@SCVDragoons -This seems to be not only incredibly ignorant but illegally discriminatory. Discriminate based on name? #ESPN PC stupidity. (to All American Girl - ESPN Pulls Announcer for Having Same Name as Confederate General)
@SCVDragoons - Next the founders, the Constitution and, the Bible. This is indicative of the progressive agenda from the Vatican. Don't deny Jesus Christ. (to Confederate Quarrels - California Catholic school takes away statues of Jesus, Mary in ‘an effort to be inclusive’)
@SCVDragoons - Precisely. It is the ignorant masses who like lemmings gravitate to the PC hysteria instead of pausing to reflect on true Southern history. (to Confederate Quarrels - Monument mayhem, history hysteria, rooted in poor public education).
@SCDragoons - Exactly.  Founders and patriots of a different time who shaped America and made it great.  But Antifa/BLM don't want America great again. The bigot Antifa and BLM want nothing short than the destruction of America and all vestiges of liberty. (to Nigel Farage - I am very pleased @POTUS had made this point. We must not rewrite American history to suit the hard left.)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Upcoming Events for Confederate Compatriots

From the Prattville Dragoons Camp Dispatch newsletter.

AL Division SCV Joe Wheeler Birthday Celebration – Saturday September 9th, 10am at the Wheeler Plantation at Pond Spring just west of Hillsboro AL on Hwy 20 featuring cavalry demonstrations, house tours, food etc

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting – Thursday September 14th at 7pm at the Shoney’s in Prattville on Cobbs Ford Rd

Prattville Dragoons Fall Muster – October 14th, 10am, at Will Dismukes property in Millbrook AL – clay shooting, BBQ

Private Richard Head Grave Marking – hosted by the General Richard Montgomery Chapter SAR, Saturday October 21, 2017 at Bethlehem Cemetery near Louisville AL; the Dragoons will participate with laying of a wreath

Prattville Dragoons Christmas Social – Saturday December 9th at Buena Vista at 6pm featuring Smokin S banquet 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Prattville Dragoons Attend Sons of Confederate Veterans Unknown Soldier Monument Dedication in Luverne AL

The Alabama Division Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Ben Bricken Camp 296, along with Clanton's Battery hosted a very successful, honorable monument dedication at Confederate Veteran Park in Luverne today.  Estimated attendance was 500 with ten compatriots from Camp 1524, the Prattville Dragoons among that count including Commander Stuart Waldo, Adjutant Wayne Sutherland, Ryan King, Tyrone Crowley, Bill Myrick, Bill Gill, Jerry Clay Lyle, Rob and Cameron Heyward and Larry Spears.  The crowd was large, enthusiastic and sported all kinds of Southern Heritage dress from ladies and gentlemen in period dress to Mechanized Cavalry members in biker gear to Confederate themed t-shirts and SCV shirts.  The event was very peaceful and enjoyable with no disturbance and no antagonizing protesters.  The park is located on US Hwy 331 adjacent to the Dry Creek Campground in Luverne AL.  The campground is beautifully shaded and provided a pleasant area to congregate before the event.  The Confederate Veteran Park has a 60ft tall main flagpole flying the Confederate Battle flag and in back of this (from the highway) are shorter flagpoles flying the historic First, Second and Third National flags with educational placards at the base of each.   A couple of granite monuments were preexisting including one depicting the Great Seal of the Confederate States of America with George Washington atop his horse and another emblazoned with crossed Confederate Battle flags honoring Confederate soldiers with the inscription, "In remembrance of those who served, who gladly wore the grey, a way of life he fought to preserve, he lived it every day, 1861-1865, Confederate soldiers of Alabama, lest we forget."  The new monument appears as a headstone with the inscription "Unknown AL Soldier, CSA, Mother I have been found, I am home".  The program included a welcome by David Coggins who is owner of the park and Captain of Clanton's Battery.  David proclaimed, "I am just a country boy from Alabama who loves his heritage.  Then SE Alabama Brigade Commander Joe Clark of Elba gave a statement of how important recognizing these unknown Confederate soldiers is to him personally by enumerating eleven of his ancestors who fought and died in the War and were not accounted for in battlefields, POW prisons or cemeteries from Ohio throughout the South.  This was followed by a roll call of Confederate veteran ancestors from those who wished to call their names from the assembled crowd.  A bell was rung after each name.  Alabama Division Commander Jimmy Hill then spoke to the crowd and included a recitation of the new SCV Statement of Purpose, "We, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, having been commissioned by the Confederate Veterans themselves, retain our responsibility and right to adhere to the founding principles of the United States of America remembering the bravery, defending the honor and protecting the memory of our beloved Confederate Veterans, which includes memorials, images, symbols, monuments and gravesites for ourselves and future generations."  The unveiling of the new monument followed and three men from Clanton's Battery provided a ceremony including salute volleys with muskets.  The program wrapped up with a series of "rolling thunder" volleys from the five cannon facing Hwy 331 which produced reverberations and smoke which surely startled the passersby on the highway. A beautiful meaningful memorial dedication program for unknown Confederate soldiers.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Southern Heritage Festival and Ball

A number of Dragoons from SCV Camp 1524 attended the Southern Heritage Festival on Saturday August 19th at the Southern Cultural Center in Wetumpka AL.  Commander Waldo along with compatriots Larry Spears and Bill Gill attended.  There were a number of speakers including Dragoons compatriot Tyrone Crowley who provided a history of Jefferson Davis' life in period dress.  Bill Anthony of the Tallassee camp along with his wife Nickey gave a waltz dance demonstration and instruction which was awesome to see with everyone in period dress and the women in their hoop skirts.  That night there was a ball with the Un-Reconstructed String Band where everyone could practice what they learned earlier in the day.  There was food including hot dogs with all the fixin's and red beans and rice with cornbread.  Outside a period primitive camp was exhibited and Ron and son Caleb Carpenter camped there and then provided a presentation/discussion on the age extremes of the soldiers in the war Between the States.  There was also a cross cut saw demonstration and lard rendering with cracklin'.  A highlight for the youngsters was the mule and wagon rides thru the woods around the property. All was to benefit the Alabama I-85 Confederate Battle Flag Project.  Donations for this project can be made to the First Capitol Flaggers.
Mike Whorton Drives the Mule Drawn Wagon with Commander Waldo's Children
Tyrone Crowley as Jefferson Davis