Heroes Among Us
Penning this column on Memorial Day morning after spending the last two days doing meaningful work for celebrating this holiday set aside to honor American soldiers who have fallen in battle during the course of our nation’s founding and history. On Saturday we had a very successful cemetery cleanup day with eight Dragoons camp members making quick work of mowing at Prattville’s Indian Hill Cemetery before five made the drive out to Autaugaville to do an initial cleanup of the section of the town’s cemetery there where a half dozen Confederate soldiers are buried. As is now well known within Camp 1524, there are a number of Confederate veterans and Prattville founders buried at Indian Hill. Original founding member of the Prattville Dragoons, 2nd Lt. A.Y. Smith as well as 2nd Lt. Dixon S. Hall are interred there. Smith who received the first Dragoon flag from Abigail Holt at the location of the Dragoons monument on the grounds of the Prattville Primary School off Washington Street in April 1861, survived the War. But an amazing statistic I heard more than once over the Memorial Day weekend was the 1.3 million American soldiers who have perished on fields of battle here on our soil and across the world in defense of America from the colonial days to the present. The War Between the States accounted for about 700,000 of these casualties, more than any other conflict. 420 soldiers every day perished during the War for Southern Independence as compared to 300 during the World Wars. Every day, hundreds of these best our country could offer were slain on bloody fields of battle or died of severe conditions of privation. Out in Autagaville among the graves was a musician named Pau, just seventeen when the War commenced. Also under the shade of the trees nearby was a World War II veteran who died in service in 1944. Truly heroes who fought to preserve their liberty and defend their homeland. And we are honored to be Guardians of their final resting place.
Saturday afternoon I tried my hand at assembling a magnolia leaf wreath for use at the Remembrance Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Montgomery. Camp 1524 was extended an invitation to participate in this Memorial Day program to remember Americans who had died in service in conflicts from the colonial founding of America to the present day Mideast conflicts. 1st Lt Grooms represented the Dragoons in laying the wreath and said afterward it was one of the most touching memorial programs he had attended. Along with our camp, Confederate patriots were honored by the Thomas Goode SCV Camp 259, the Ladies Memorial Association of Montgomery, and the Cradle of the Confederacy UDC Chapter 94. Our own Quartermaster Myrick was dressed dapper as usual in a casual jacket which was adorned with many of his service ribbons including his Bronze Star. Awesome stuff. I took special note too of the last to place a wreath, a gentleman representing the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Truly heroes among us. It has always impressed me that many of our compatriots in the Sons of Confederate Veterans are also veterans themselves of one branch or another of the United States military. These men can surely more than most appreciate the incredible sacrifices made by and bravery exhibited by the men in grey. While Americans pause at Memorial Day to honor our fallen soldiers, we as Sons of Confederate Veterans are charged to continually and unceasingly defend “the Confederate soldier's good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which made him glorious”. We must protect and defend the memory, monuments and resting places of these veterans who fought and died in our defense, all American heroes.