Commander's Column: Honoring and Emulating our Ancestors
As was announced to the camp recently, my father passed away recently at the age of 91. Following the lead of Brigade Commander David Brantley, last year I had signed my dad up as a Friend of the SCV and certainly he was just that. He was always interested in reports of the camp events. As some of you may recall, he participated in one of the Prattville July 4th parades with the Dragoon entry and we recognized him as a World War II veteran. He was born in Detroit and raised in Brooklyn but after serving in WWII he found himself a southern belle and made his home below the Mason Dixon line ever since. He of course named me after Stuart and Forrest but also one of sisters after Lee. He gave me the cotton Battle Flag many of you have seen. We definitely lost a friend of the South and the Confederate Cause but we lost yet another World War II veteran, one of the greatest generation. The following day the Dragoons also lost Harry Rawlinson, another World War II vet and a founding member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524, our Prattville Dragoons. His was a direct lineage from one of the original Prattville Dragoons of the War for Southern Independence. It’s been just a couple of years since the Dragoons lost their final Real Son, Henry Gober. As each year slips by, we lose more and more of our living history, these men who had a direct link to the history of the 19th century and who lived thru the tremendous world and national events of the 20th century.
I had meant to pen a different column for the newsletter this month but as these unfortunate life events transpired, I opted to instead to take a moment to honor these Southern compatriots and to ask that we all take a moment to reflect and honor these men who helped shape our nation of the past century. Membership in the SCV and promoting the Charge and defending our Southern heritage honors our Confederate forebears but also their descendants, our parents and grandparents who more closely touched our lives. My father did not want any formal funeral service but my siblings and I will certainly get together to remember our father. Over the weekend, my wife Kerri fondly recalled some of the simple little things my father still tried to teach us and his grandchildren when we visited. Finish what’s on your plate. Don’t put your elbows on the table. But so much more. I thought what a wonderful way to honor and pay tribute to my father but to all of those who came before us, to remember all the things I learned from my dad which helped make me the person I am today. I decided that as a family we would sit down and enumerate all the things we learned from my dad and recount these in the service or observance we have together to celebrate his life.
What should we learn from our fathers, our grandfathers, our Confederate ancestors? My mother has said numerous times that my grandmother would be so pleased that I joined the SCV. She grew up the daughter of those who experienced firsthand the War and Reconstruction. It was her memoirs which instructed me as to my Confederate ancestry. The Vision 2016 initiative of SCV National and Division stresses the importance of education and my enlightenment of Southern history since joining the SCV has been instrumental in my embracing the Cause for which my Confederate ancestors struggled. I thought on Saturday morning as I saw the Dragoons assemble in Millbrook for the parade that it was a nice diversion to take my mind off my recent sad family news but I also thought how fortunate I am to be a part of such a noble worthwhile organization and a compatriot with such outstanding men. It’s participation in the camp events that make our SCV membership so rewarding and brings us together for our shared Cause, the Charge. As I compiled the newsletter, I saw Chaplain Snowden’s column that recognized those who have recently passed and the imperative that we are assured of our salvation. Sharing the message of God’s grace and the message of salvation in the belief and trust in his son Jesus Christ is certainly of the utmost importance in our lives, to share this good news with our friends and our family. Sharing and promoting Confederate history with our friends and family and embracing the virtues of our Confederate ancestors and the ideals which inspired and emboldened them and which define our Southern heritage unto today should be of import to us also.