April 24th was Confederate Memorial Day and that morning while checking the news on my computer, I was pleased to note that AL.com highlighted Confederate Memorial Day. In a short article, they provided a brief history saying, “The day traces its roots back to 1866 when the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus GA passed a resolution to set aside a day to honor Confederate soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War. Almost 260,000 Civil War soldiers were killed in the lined of duty,” they reported. Government offices closed in observance of the state holiday were also listed.
Unfortunately, an hour or so later they also ran an Associated Press article which was much more editorial and slanted as you might imagine. After listing the few states which still observe the day or others as a state holiday, the author immediately followed that Mississippi in their 1861 secession declaration included that its decision to leave the United States was "thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery." They then quoted a Mississippi activist who complained that the state flag there prominently includes the Confederate Battle flag. No mention was made of the referendum put on the ballot there where voters, citizens there elected to keep their state flag by a 30% margin.
The same AP article included a quote from SCV chaplain Barry Cook of Jasper, cherry picking his good commentary previously published on AL.com to minimize the monumental decision of the Southern states and populace to secede saying it was merely because “Yankees wanted to disrupt their lives”. This same quote was used on WLWI radio during their morning news which included the announcement of Confederate Memorial Day followed by the editorial that some believe that slavery was the sole reason for the Southern states secession.
Eleven states seceded from the Union. Upwards of a million Southerners fought to defend their states, their homes from the invading Union army. Over a quarter million Southerners died in the War Between the States. For a “disruption” to their daily lives? To phrase the reason for secession and such a monumentally tragic war with such an absurdly insignificant word as “disrupt” is offensive. Abraham Lincoln was elected as a sectional candidate with 39% of the popular vote vowing to enforce oppressive tariffs and taxation to fill his Treasury and redistribute the wealth of the Southern states to the Northern industrialists by returning the states of the Confederacy to an imperialist Union, wantonly attacking fellow Americans many who had served the United States in the armed forces and government with distinction but who resisted the ruthless overbearing Federal army and defended their sovereign home states. A mere disruption?
Kevin Elkin, the host of the morning radio show on WLWI mentioned Confederate Memorial Day also. His guest that morning said he was “trying to figure out what to do on Confederate Memorial Day (and that he didn’t) care anything about it.” Although Kevin said he didn’t intend to observe the day, he said he “understood the reverence” we place on observing Confederate Memorial Day to honor our Confederate ancestors. Interestingly, I took note when Kevin said he is the only radio or TV host in the Montgomery area who is a military veteran. I think it not a coincidence that this Army Ranger veteran although a black man understands and appreciates the sacrifices that the Confederate veterans made in defense of their homes, many dying, many maimed and crippled. The deprivation they experienced. The horror of this modern total war.
A couple days later I noticed on Twitter a link to an article discussing President Trumps comments on Andrew Jackson. Incredible to see the ignorance of all the comments posted to the article who uniformly, just as Chelsea Clinton did in the article, that secession and the War was all about slavery. Lincoln said in his inaugural address that he had "...no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was a war measure which freed no slaves as it didn't apply to slaves in states within the Union, only to states in the Confederacy for which he had no jurisdiction, until his Army ransacked the countryside and freed the slaves to allow them to starve to death (read "Sick from Freedom" by Jim Downs). Trump was stating that Jackson would have avoided secession by negotiating the tariff issue which was the true impetus of the Southern states leaving the Union. Lincoln provoked the War at Ft. Sumter (and then escalated and ultimately finished it by invading the South) as he needed to control the ports to collect his tariffs. He said, "What about the revenue? What would I do about the collection of duties?" Wars are fought over money/territory(resources). Follow the money. Lincoln could not and would not allow the Southern states to peacefully secede as the industrializing North was dependent on the tax and tariff monies from the wealthy Southern states.
Western Kentucky University student government recently voted in favor of reparations for black students in the form of free tuition; they also recommended test-optional admissions for prospective black students. One student senator the resolution was not unfair because it makes up for advantages white people have historically enjoyed. Evidently this student of higher learning has never heard of Reconstruction and share cropping in the South and for that matter the economic disparity between North and South even today. The Kennedy brothers spoke at the Education Conference about the destruction today of our Southern heritage and culture due to internal immigration. Many of our universities and local governments in the South are controlled now by people who do not understand Southern history nor appreciate Southern heritage. One need only look at the repulsive efforts at historical revisionism at Washington and Lee University and in Lexington and Danville, Virginia to see the attempts at removal of vestiges honoring Southern heroes. Or at New Orleans to see the repugnant efforts of a liberal Yankee city administration led by Mitch Landrieu to remove beautiful historic Confederate monuments.
The ignorant regurgitation of the slavery issue as the sole cause of secession and the War, the attacks on Confederate monuments across the cemeteries, universities and towns throughout the South, are disconcerting and frustrating. We as Sons of Confederate Veterans have the opportunity to proclaim the truth and perpetuity of the Cause and the relevance today of the Confederate soldier’s brave struggle for freedom and sovereignty and state’s rights. As past-Division Commander Ira West wrote in his Confederate Memorial Day distribution, “We honor our illustrious Confederate ancestors (who) though hopelessly outnumbered and with little hope of success, continued to fight for four long years. They fought to protect their families and homes from the burning and pillaging Yankee invaders as they tried to peacefully leave a union they had peacefully entered. They deserve our remembrance and honor. Let us not forget that more Alabamians gave their lives fighting for the Confederacy than in all other wars combined.”