Friday, June 5, 2015

Selma's Old Live Oak Cemetery Confederate Circle Rededication

Several compatriots from Camp 1524 were able to attend the re-dedication of Confederate Circle at Live Oak Cemetery in Selma on Saturday, May 23, 2015. Dragoon attendees included Commander Stuart Waldo, Adjutant Wayne Sutherland, Past Commander Wyatt Willis, Tyrone Crowley, Louis Turner, Tom Crowley, Paul Whaley and Tyler Suttle.  Before the program commenced many including these Dragoons searched around the pedestal mounted cannon to find their ancestors memorialized on paving stones placed about the monument , the base of which will provide historical informational plaques. Tyrone Crowley portrayed President Jefferson Davis including posing for portraits sitting in Davis' memorial stone chair located within the Circle. The Dragoons were recognized in the program with one of the $500 Donors Plaques which will be placed on one of the commemorative benches placed under the trees within Confederate Circle. 

By all accounts, it was a glorious day for a celebration of a Confederate Victory in Selma. The weather was a perfect Alabama spring day with bright blue skies and an occasional light breeze rustling the leaves of the old oaks and the beautiful Confederate flags in the cemetery.  UDC chapter president Pat Godwin emceed the event and acknowledged the fact that the UDC now had a valid deed to Confederate Circle in Live Oak cemetery. Her tireless work, along with many others, led to this hard fought victory. Congratulations to Pat, the Friends of Forrest and the UDC!

The Mayor of Selma was in attendance as well as a number of other dignitaries including Probate Judge Kimbrough Ballard who read the proclamation designating April as Confederate History and Heritage Month in Dallas County.  Many officers from the UDC including President Linda Edwards and SCV Division staff including Commander Gary Carlyle and 1st Lt Jimmy Hill were among the enthusiastic crowd at Confederate Circle. 

The 5th Alabama Regimental Band provided prelude music and special music including Amazing Grace and Dixie.  Additionally, Mrs. Ellen Williams, President of the UDC Chapter 2662 in Leroy AL sang a heartfelt rendition of "God Save the South".  General Bill Rambo and the 33rd Alabama Color Guard under the direction of Col. Paul Whaley presented the colors and provided an honor guard and a round of musket salutes.  Johnny Westerfield and White's Battery from Monteagle TN provided four sets of powerful cannon salutes which put an unequivocal exclamation on the program.  
Certainly a highlight of the program was the unveiling of the new bust of General Nathan Bedford Forrest by Bill Rambo and Todd Kiscaden.  While Pat was undeniably the woman of the hour for her tireless pursuit of the rightful honoring of these Confederate heroes at Live Oak Cemetery,Todd was equally the man of the hour, owner of KTK Mining Company LLC who professionally directed the work and crew for the security and beautification enhancements for the Confederate Circle project. Todd was the final speaker of the program presenting "Our Southern Culture and Who We Are".  Bill Rambo provided a wonderful synopsis of "General Forrest" including examples of his military genius and why Forrest was deserving of his place and recognition in Selma and at Confederate Circle. .Dr. Cecil Williamson delivered an amazing inspirational speech and was interrupted numerous times by applause delivering his "History of Live Oak, Confederate Memorial Circle". Benjamin Austin completed the series of guest speakers with a recounting of the "The Two Mass Graves of 156 Confederate Soldiers" interred there at Live Oak Cemetery in the Circle.

A closing prayer by rev. Von McQueen was followed by Taps played by buglers Raymond Kell of Montgomery and Hoss Perry of White's Battery.  Following this wonderful comprehensive program a reception was held at The Smitherman museum and a Roll Call of the Confederate's buried at Confederate Circle was conducted at dusk back at the cemetery.  A beautiful day in the heart of Dixie.
The 5th Alabama Regimental Band 

Cannon with Memorial Pavers

Tyrone Crowley as Jefferson Davis

Memorial Pavers for Michael Crowley (foreground) and Elijah Hunt (Waldo, background)

Pat Godwin Opens the Program

Tom Crowley and Bill Rambo Look On

The Crowd Looks Towards the Podium Beneath the Confederate Soldiers Monument

Col. Paul Whaley and the Color Guard

Chaplain Dr. Baker and Commander Carlyle (foreground), Virginia Flaggers with Susan Hathaway (background)

Dragoons Waldo, Tom Crowley, Tyrone Crowley and Sutherland

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