Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sons of Confederate Veterans 118th National Reunion in Vicksburg MS - Part 1

The Sesquicentennial of the Siege of Vicksburg brought the Sons of Confederate Veterans annual convention to this historic city on Wednesday July 17th thru Saturday July 20th.  The Reunion was held at the Vicksburg Civic Center in historic downtown Vicksburg, only a block from the Yazoo River with many of the surrounding historic homes and buildings dating from the period of the War Between the States.  Most of the events including the Business Sessions and Lunches and programs were held in the Civic Center with tours of the National Military Park and other sites available for attendees and their families.  Members of the Prattville Dragoons who attended the convention included Commander Stuart Waldo, Former Commander and I-65 Flag Chairman Larry Spears and Quartermaster David Brantley.  Philip and Rose Davis from Montgomery were in attendance also and Butch and Pat Godwin from Selma were there too representing the Friends of Forrest and continuing their efforts for the Confederate Circle Renovation in Live Oak Cemetery in Selma. Tennessee Army Commander Tom Strain and Alabama Division Commander Gary Carlyle also made the Reunion.

Conference Attendees Gather at the 118th SCV National Reunion in the Vicksburg Civic Center

The Reunion opened with the singing of Dixie by Dr. Clarisa Davis who despite some microphone technical difficulties did a wonderful job kicking off the event.  Chaplain in Chief Mark Evans offered the invocation next and the flags were brought in my a reenactment color guard, followed by Wayne McMaster leading everyone in the pledges to the U.S. and Confederate flags.  General Stephen D. Lee's Charge to the Sons of Confederate Veterans was then read, the 107th anniversary of his addressing the Sons. 

SCV GEC and Clarisa Davis at the Reunion Opening Ceremony

Mississippi Lt.Gov Tate Reeves then addressed the convention conveying to everyone that he is proud to be from Mississippi and the South and a part of the SCV Reunion as prayer and pledges opened the event.  He welcomed everyone to Vicksburg, the key to Mississippi and congratulated the SCV for keeping history alive for our youth.  He is proud to support the Mississippi monument at Shiloh and explained that the War Between the States defined us and what we as a nation have become.  He encouraged everyone to tour the historic battlefields to help us understand the events which led brother to fight brother and the terror the civilians felt waiting for the fighting to stop.  Lt. Gov. Reeves was given a standing ovation.  The President of the Warren County Board of Supervisors said addressing the SCV caused him to research his own ancestry.  He informed everyone that among many distinctions, Warren County was the home of Jefferson Davis before the War.

Past Mississippi UDC President Francis Woodruff conveyed greetings from the UDC President General on this 150th Anniversary of the Siege of Vicksburg.  One of her ancestors served in the Confederate Army at Vicksburg.  She said the SCV, UDC and Children on the Confederacy (CoC) need to work together to combat falsehoods and represent true history closing with a quote from Jefferson Davis, "The contest is not over, the strife has not ended."  Jessica Sizemore, President of the CoC thanked everyone for the support of their heritage organization for Confederate youth and informed everyone that their 59th annual convention was underway just down I-20 in Jackson MS. She read a touching poem entitled "Dear Ancestor" and concluded inviting everyone to their convention.

The Commander in Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans said it was an honor and privilege to bring greetings to brothers in the Confederacy and reminded us that we share a basic mission to honor our ancestors.  The War has long ended but should not be forgotten. We must educate future generations of the lessons learned and suggested reenactments should be used to grow membership over the next two years of the Sesquicentennial.  The Mississippi Division Order of Confederate Rose President thanked everyone for allowing the OCR to participate in the Reunion and continue to serve as an auxiliary for the SCV.  The final speaker for the Reunion Opening Ceremony was Pemberton Camp 1354 Commander Wayne McMaster who said that although they are a small camp, volunteers worked together to host this Reunion.  He congratulated the Mississippi Division who helped save the Confederate Battle Flag as an integral part of the state flag.  Tony Wade added an important highlight from the last year that in December 2012 a monument was dedicated to black Confederates sponsored by the SCV with a committee which included Commander-in-Chief Givens.
118th SCV National Reunion Opening Ceremony in Vicksburg

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