Commander's Column: Confederate History Month Observed
We just enjoyed another Confederate Heritage and History Month and Confederate Memorial Day in April and I hope each and every one of you honored your ancestors and the Confederate soldiers in this Sesquicentennial. In addition to our annual Dragoons camp picnic and Memorial Day observance, the SCV Alabama Division joined with the UDC to host a Memorial Day event at the Confederate Monument on the state capitol grounds in Montgomery. The guest speaker at this event apparently stirred up a bit of a controversy with disparaging remarks regarding the US flag and the pledge thereto and military service in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Many SCV members across the nation and in our camp have served honorably in one of the branches of the U.S. military and should be commended for their service. Obviously the Confederate veteran's brave and heroic fight and victories and indomitable spirit in the face of overwhelming odds and deprivation have earned him a place of admiration and legend throughout the world and history. The general officers commanding the Confederate forces are recognized as some of the most brilliant strategists and tacticians as well as examples of leadership and are representative of the best of our Southern heritage and many were trained and served and were career officers in the U.S. Army prior to the secession of their home states. One of the things that helped to mend the wounds from the War and Reconstruction and bring the nation back together was the commendable service of Southerners in the U.S. Army and Navy in the Spanish American War. Brave Southerners have inordinately earned the highest honors for their military service throughout all the conflicts in U.S. history. Any SCV member and any Southerner should be proud to have responded to the call to serve their nation in any of the branches of the U.S. military to carry on this legacy.
The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted by the U.S. Congress in the midst of the national peril and sacrifice of World War II, the country uniting to face the Axis powers. The Pledge was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892 to promote nationalism at the 400-year anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World. The Pledge of Allegiance has obviously served as an expression of faithfulness for generations of Americans and immigrants to this nation. I am certain that we all believe ourselves faithful and patriotic to our country in which we have been blessed by God to have been born and to which we have invested our lives and toil. We start all of our camp meetings with the pledges to the U.S. flag, the Alabama state flag and Confederate Battle Flag as the latter represent the sovereignty and the heritage that we place in equal but not greater importance to our national patriotism. There have been some in the progressivism of our nation’s recent past who have objected to the revision of the Pledge including God Almighty in the recitation and while our Christian heritage in the SCV would condemn the omission of a recognition that we and our nation dwell under the grace of our Creator, some in the SCV who feel strongly enough about the justification and constitutionality of the Confederate States' secession elect to omit the statement maintaining the indivisible quality of the United States when reciting the Pledge.
Some may have objected to the speaker’s inference that America perhaps was not and is not the greatest country in the history of the world. Greece and Rome and England and Egypt and Mesopotamia of millennia past might offer contradiction to that notion anyway. The United States of America has led the world in the past hundred years through World Wars and has ushered in some of the greatest advancements in human history but our knowledge of the rise and fall of the Confederacy (borrowing from Jefferson Davis) demonstrates that while the U.S. was founded on principles of freedom and liberty and a democratic republic, Lincoln’s War of Northern Aggression changed the path of the country’s government and history to one of ever growing federal control and dominance. Despite the nauseating rapid decline of family values, American world leadership, economic growth and capitalist opportunity, and personal liberties choreographed by the politicians in Washington DC over the past few years, a recent poll showed over 40% of our neighbors and countrymen apparently approve of current events and the direction our nation is heading. That is 40% of the United States I can’t truthfully say I like. We are fortunate to belong to a fraternal organization founded on a worthy ideal to perpetuate the best of American history and Southern heritage and it is our duty and Charge to advance the Cause today and for our children and for future generations.
Stuart WaldoCamp Commander