Monday, January 26, 2015

Wow, What an Event - the AL Division Robert E. Lee Commemorative Program

The Alabama Division Sons of Confederate Veterans held their annual Robert E. Lee Day birthday commemorative program on Saturday January 24th at the Alabama State Archives in downtown Montgomery. It was a fabulous program, called perhaps the best ever by past Prattville Dragoons camp Commander Larry Spears.   The program was held mostly indoors, inside the Archives, but the beautiful clear crisp January morning apparently brought out a great crowd.  The formal program was conducted in the Archives auditorium and it was standing room only, filled by a crowd numbering probably 300.  An adjacent overspill room was set up which provided a closed circuit audio video display of the program on a large movie screen where another 50-60 people watched the program.  The Dragoons were well represented with eight members in attendance including Brigade Commander David Brantley, Commander Stuart Waldo, Communications Officer Larry Spears, 1st Lt Harold Grooms, Chaplain Tom Snowden, Quartermaster Bill Myrick, Danny Smyth and Jeff Jones.

The event was kicked off with songs by the Tallassee Camp 1921 String Band.  The colors were posted by a reenactment unit and Dr. Charles Baker, Division Chaplain provided an invocation.  AL Division Commander Gary Carlyle welcomed everyone including the Presidents of the Alabama United Daughters of the Confederacy, Order of the Confederate Rose and Children of the Confederacy.  Dr. John Killian of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars gave a rousing short speech proclaiming the superior moral foundation our Southern heritage imparts to us, our laudable Confederate forebears and the relevance today of these fundamental beliefs and ideals.  Commander Carlyle made a presentation of a check for $5200 from the SCV to Bob Bradley, Chief Curator of the Archives for the historical flag conservation.

Virginia Davis gave an incredible reenactment of Mrs. Mary Custis Lee, wife of R.E. Lee including a recollection of his upbringing and early military career.  She posed her address as of the year 1871 so she included an account of Lee's decision to resign his US Army commission and assume command of the Army of Northern Virginia but, as she spent most of the War in Richmond, she couldn't provide much insight into Lee's campaigns and life in the camps of the ANV. After the War, Lee assumed the Presidency of Washington College and expanded the university's curriculum and implemented the same tradition he had as Commander at West Point, inviting each student to his residence so that he and Mary could get to know each student.

After the performance of Mrs. Mary Custis Lee, the Camp 1921 String Band led everyone in Dixie and Dr. Baker closed the program with a Benediction.  Following, many walked across the state capitol grounds to the Confederate monument where reenactors gave a musket salute and others followed Bob Bradley on a tour of the flag conservation room.  Bob gave amazing details on the methods of flag preservation and the history of the many flags in the Archives.  A thoroughly enjoyable morning commemorating one of the great Americans in our history and honoring our Southern ancestors and heritage with fellow compatriots.
Dragoons at the Alabama State Archives for the Robert E. Lee Day Program

Danny Smyth, Bill Myrick, and Jeff Jones (L-R)

Commander Carlyle with Bob Bradley

Lt Jimmy Hill Listens to Bob Bradley in the Flag Conservation Room

Virginia Davis as Mrs. Mary Custis Lee

Dr, Killian of the MOSB

Attendees Watch the Program from the Overflow Room

Posting of the Colors in the Auditorium

No comments:

Post a Comment