Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Commanders Column for September 2014

From the Camp 1524 Dispatch:

Commander's Column: Oppressive Heat And Other Observations
As September arrives, it seems the last few weeks and the new month has brought the real
Alabama summer heat to bear with mid-to-upper nineties every afternoon. I hope everyone is
taking care to stay cool and hydrated in these oppressive temperatures. I am reminded of our
great-grandfathers who labored on their farms across the Southland and developed the land into
bountiful fields with crude tools and implements and our Confederate heroes marching miles in
woolen clothing to struggle with arms in combat enduring these harsh temperatures and
conditions with no air conditioning respite we enjoy. Carrying forth their Cause in our latest effort,
we had a great turnout for the last Indian Hills Cemetery clean-up. With the fire raging to burn up
the brush adding to the sweltering heat, my hour out there just before noon at the cemetery was
all I could handle. Lt. Harold Grooms was again an amazing dynamo plugging away for hours
though. But it was the combined effort of over ten folks including one non-member who made
great gains on the overgrown brush at the cemetery. Harold mentioned that he believed the
project is one of the best undertaken by the camp and certainly it strikes at the core of the Charge
to honor our Confederate ancestors.

This is an exciting time for the SCV with the change in national leadership as well as at the
state level including our own new Brigade Commander David Brantley. New Commander-in-
Chief Kelly Barrow and new Lt. Commander-in-Chief Tom Strain will certainly bring new ideas
and perspectives to those roles. We owe departing CiC Michael Givens much honor and
appreciation for his tremendous efforts and energy and vision in directing the SCV over the past
few years. The series of articles defending the Cause and recounting the true history of the
struggle for the Southern States' independence carried in each issue of the Confederate Veteran
magazine were spearheaded by him to educate the membership during this historic
Sesquicentennial. Vision 2016 was initiated during his tenure to empower membership to
develop and drive strategies for growth and heritage defense from the individual members and
camp level up to the Division and National leadership. These were great initiatives. I trust the
Confederate Veteran publication will continue to offer the wealth of historical research and
information we have come to expect as this aspect of SCV service is of particular importance in
this age of political correctness and historical revisionism. Givens’s final column in the
July/August 2014 edition of the Confederate Veteran again offered a fresh perspective on the
cause of the War Between the States, that of an imperialist Republican Lincoln administration
which sought to preserve a nation in terms of populace, resources and geography to rival any in
the world, a new global power. In retrospect, perhaps the evolution of the United States in the
20th century demonstrates this as the ultimate cause for the War of Northern Aggression.

The coming year for the SCV marks the end of the Sesquicentennial of the War and that
armed conflict with the surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Johnston’s Army of
Tennessee in early 1865 but certainly not the end of hostilities as Reconstruction soon began,
which generated animosity for many years to come. It has been said that the United States has
become a nation of special interests, divided by ethnicities, issues and causes attempting to
fracture and debilitate the country, that we are a nation in decline because we are no longer a
melting pot, a nation bound by common bonds and beliefs. This may reflect on the problems
inherent in the enormous size of our nation-state, as was envisioned and argued by philosophers
and leaders from the time of Aristotle to the time of our Revolutionary framers. But perhaps this
all reflects back to the subjugation of the Southern people by a tyrannical Northern aggressor
bent on suppressing the liberty and independence of our forefathers who recognized the
omnipotent federal government as the threat and problem that it would ultimately become. We
have been reminded in recent camp meeting presentations how different the Southern and
Northern sectional cultures and heritage were--which contributed to the rise of tensions and
conflict. The Confederate States of America embodied the decentralized governance and society
and the strong self-sufficient God-fearing people our country was founded upon. Perhaps the
enduring oppressive summer weather climate should remind us of the similar enduring
oppressive political climate which has continued and evolved over the past 150 years too.

Stuart Waldo
Camp Commander

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