Prattville Dragoons 1st Lt Stuart Waldo attended, making the 3 1/2 hr drive north to TN with Dragoon former Commander Wyatt Willis. David Brantley who is transferring his SCV membership from Georgia to a Montgomery or the Prattville camp was in attendance as were Butch and Pat Godwin from Selma, Alan Parker and Philip Davis from Montgomery and new Alabama Division leadership including Commander Gary Carlyle, 1st Lt Jimmy Hill and 2nd Lt Carl Jones.
National Chaplain Mark Evans opened the convention with an invocation followed by a reading by Dr. Bradley of his poem "I Am Their Flag". The colors were then posted noting that the United States flag was actually one flown in Iraq, the Tennessee state flag was one flown over the TN state capitol; the flags included the SCV Commander in Chiefs flag which was the 3rd National with the SCV CiC insignia. The pledge to the United States and the Confederate flags was then recited by all. The color guard then recited their Confederate ancestors names and unit in which they defended their homeland. Dixie was then sung by all to a guitar accompaniment.
Mona Henderson of the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce and recipient of the SCV Heritage Preservation Award gave some information about the Chambers WBTS exhibits at their office across the street from the Embassy Suites and also gave a wrap up from the Sam Davis home tour which was held Wednesday evening of the Reunion.
Murfreesboro Mayor Ernest Burgess and TN Division Robert E Lee Award recipient read a proclamation recognizing Gen. Forrest's birthday and also highlighted a new tablet for the Confederate monument at the Murfreesboro county courthouse.
Mayor Sam Toone of nearby Eagleville TN and member of SCV Camp 33 announced the plans for the Thursday dedication of a new monument at the Eagleville city hall. He announced that there are 640 people in Eagleville "and everyone of them are from the South." He challenged everyone to stand tall and get involved with your local and state government officials and warned everyone that the Yankees continue to invade the South as snowbirds as opposed to the Union soldiers of 150 years ago.
TN State Senator Jim Tracy and self-proclaimed 2-time doughnut eating champion of Eagleville read Senate Joint Resolution 526 proclaiming July 8-14 as SCV Week in TN! The resolution had the concurrence of the House of the 107th Congress of TN. He reminded all that 187000 Tennessee citizens served in the Confederacy and 64000 Confederate soldiers died in battles in TN.
Candace Addison from the TN State Museum brought thanks for attending from the state of Tennessee. The Conservation of the 60+ flags at the TN State Museum is a primary focus of the museum with an estimated $500,000 needed for full restoration and preservation. $23000 was raised at the last SCV National Reunion held in TN in 2005. 20% of TN SCV tag registrations got to the museum flag preservation with $130,000 raised thru this avenue. New flags have been acquired including Archers Brigade and the 20th TN flag which required a $20,000 restoration to remove mosquito netting which was stitched to it to allow it to be hung in the state capitol for the Centennial of the War Between the States. Candace made a presentation to the SCV Roderick Camp which has raised a lot of money for cavalry flags and the 24th TN flag - a ball of lint and fuzz removed from the flags as part of the restoration work. The museum houses over 500 items from the War.
TN Division SCV Commander Mike Beck next thanked everyone including the dignitaries for coming and Camp #33 for hosting the Reunion. He challenged everyone asking, "Do you believe in yourself?" Keep the Charge... Reach for the highest star; you may not reach it but you'll be surprised what you may grab on the way down."
UDC TN Division President Barbara Parsons made a presentation to SCV Executive Director Ben Sewell. It was a laminated paper carried in the shirt pocket of Confederate infantryman Melvyn Wright showing a receipt for $26 from April 18, 1865, just a few days after Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Wright had tuberculosis but still enlisted in the CSA and records showed him in training June of 1861. September 23, 1861 he was discharged for a broken bone but he was "determined to serve in some way" and records showed him in Meridian, Miss. at the end of the War. Wright was the GG Grandfather of former UDC TN President Josephine Bandy Hill. Wright followed Gen. Lee's instructions to his troops to go home and become good citizens. She recalled how "the South became the Bible Belt because when you have nothing, God is all you have left" and that is precisely what the Confederate soldiers returned home to find. She implored everyone to do your duty and as Gen Stephen Dill Lee said, "Acquit ourselves like men."
Kelly Herrod, President of the Children of the Confederacy next addressed the crowd and indicated her term would expire at the National Convention in Gettysburg. Her project as President was Bucks for Books as she raised money for the Jefferson Davis Library at Beauvoir. She extended greetings and wishes for a successful convention.
Next came something of a surprise as the Commander in Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans was introduced. He claimed he was in a mixed marriage as he was married to a Southerner of Kentucky ancestry. He deplored our public schools as not teaching "Civil War" history which is one of our nations most defining moments and espoused critical thinking in teaching history from multiple perspectives. He presented Commander in Chief Givens with the book "Glorious Contentment: The Grand Army of the Republic" and an invitation to the SUV 131st Encampment to which CiC Givens accepted with a greeting to the SUV CiC, "Welcome to America."
Finally, Compatriot James Turner introduced 22 term TN State Senator Doug Henry, the longest serving legislator in the State Assembly. He recounted how his ancestors lived in a cave for a year during the War. He continued asking whether a tombstone with the inscription CSA 1861-1865 appropriate or was the Cause important that we should learn from it today. He spoke of the Constitutional truth of the Confederacy and the rationale behind secession, whether the South would remain an economic colony of the North and the fact that the leadership of the South was moving towards free labor and frontier expansion. The Confederate Constitution preserved true states rights and individual liberty. He derided public schools and main stream media television as indoctrinating the children of our nation.