Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Honoring the Confederate Battle Flag

Historical Fiction author Jessica James attends Confederate flag raising
Confederate Flag Raising along I-95.
"The flag that is being raised today will be a living, breathing memorial to our Confederate dead.” - Susan Hathaway

I had a wonderful time in Virginia attending the I-95 Confederate Flag Raising on Saturday, and was sorry I had to leave. I finally got to meet many people in person I've known only through the Internet, so it was a real treat to visit with "old friends" and make new ones.

The ceremony for the flag raising was solemn, respectful and more inspiring than I can even convey, with around 250 to 300 in attendance. The flag will  now serve to welcome visitors and commuters to Richmond, and remind them of the honorable history and heritage of the region.


Historical Fiction author Jessica James attends Civil War flag raising
Flag flying near I-95.
The Virginia Flaggers, a heritage group, organized the event, hoisting a 15 foot-by-15 foot Confederate battle flag in a patch of cleared woods adjacent to I-95, just south of Richmond. The goal of the group is to relay a message of honor, dignity, respect and heritage to those who have never been taught -- or have forgotten -- their American history.
 
The organization was started when the Confederate flag was removed from the grounds of the Pelham Chapel - Confederate War Memorial in Richmond, which was built to honor the memory of 260,000 Confederate soldiers who died during the War Between the States.
 
During the ceremony on Saturday a rendition of “Dixie,” was sung, a bagpiper played “Amazing Grace,” – and a historian presented the history of the area where the flag now waves. The most inspirational part of the ceremony was the speech by Susan Hathaway who started the Virginia Flaggers and was the main organizer of the event.
 
Right after the flag was raised, a breeze gently unfurled it.
As sons and daughters of the South, we have inherited a birthright that is still today the envy of all who know of their valor and courage," she said. "Ours is a proud heritage of men who loved God, family, country and freedom—and driven by duty and honor, answered the call of their state to defend hearth and home."

The program that was handed out included a beautiful quote from Confederate Veteran Rev. Randolph Harrison McKim, which read:

"...We must forevermore do honor to our heroic dead. We must forevermore cherish the sacred memories of those four terrible but glorious years of unequal strife. We must forevermore consecrate in our hearts our old battle flag of the Southern Cross -- not now as a political symbol, but as the consecrated emblem of an heroic epoch. The people that forgets its heroic dead is already dying at the heart, and we believe we shall be truer and better citizens of the United States if we are true to our past."

I was amazed at the amount of news coverage this event got in Virginia -- as if honoring one's ancestors is something to be ashamed of. I found it unfortunate that people showed their lack of historical knowledge by opposing the flag, and was truly surprised that historical revisionism and political correctness are so prevalent in relation to this issue. Hopefully this small, yet significant event of raising the battle flag will stand as a symbol and a rallying cry for those who are proud of their Southern heritage and will now join others in defending it.
 

 

2 comments:

Stan said...

Amen! Thank you for recounting the events of Saturday's flag raising ceremony so well Jessica!

Ashleigh said...

"The truth is incontrovertible! Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end there it is!" - Winston Churchill Please visit http://www.petersburgexpress.com for sketches of our past often hidden from view.

And I quote...

"[L]et us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died."
--Ronald Reagan at Pointe du Hoc, 1984