Archibald Gracie Camp #985
New York, N.Y.
Confederate Heritage Month: A Time for Sons

In Mississippi, Governor Phil Bryant (himself a proud member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans), proclaimed April to be Confederate Heritage Month. April has long been associated with Confederate remembrance, being the month in which Confederate Memorial Day is celebrated In Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. The date was initially set to commemorate Gen. Joseph Johnston’s surrender of his army on April 26, 1865.

Unsurprisingly, the media coverage thus far has run a limited gamut ranging from outrage to mockery. Even ostensibly unbiased coverage frames it–at best–only as a controversial provocation on the part of white supremacists.

Just as progressives with a (rightful) sense of racial justice shake their heads at symbols, memorials, and commemorations of the Confederacy, lamenting “I thought we were past this,” so too do Southerners–remembering the post-Vietnam resolve to never again besmirch the dignity or memory of an American serviceman answering the call of his government–respond to attacks on the well-over-half-a-million Southern men killed in service.

But I believe apologia is for another day, another month. I would encourage all Sons, in April, to close the doors, shutter the windows, and blot out any outside provocations or mockeries. This month, let’s consider the history of our people the pearls that they are, and not cast them before–well, you know… Let’s circle our wagons and remind and remember and educate our friends and loved ones, and resurrect our gallant men in gray by remembering them not as touchstones of controversy or division, but simple men who have earned their immortality, as the inscription on Arlington’s Confederate Monument states:

“Not for fame or reward
Not for place or for rank
Not lured by ambition
Or goaded by necessity
But in simple
Obedience to duty
As they understood it
These men suffered all
Sacrificed all
Dared all-and died”

Now, as Sons, I believe we have a special duty to focus this month on our own sons, the next inheritors of our proud heritage, and the next Confederate ambassadors to the world. So I would implore you to make time this month to talk with your sons, and share with them their history. Personally, I have a 4-year-old, and a 1-year-old. My 4-year-old enjoys looking at maps of battles from the War, so I plan on making sure we take time to look at these. Obviously, at this tender age, I cannot expect too much, but I may try to see if I can help him memorize the names of a few additional Generals, or names of battles. I am also fortunate, despite living in Upstate New York, to be within a half-hour’s drive to the graves of two young Confederates from North Carolina who were killed in a train wreck while being transferred to Elmira Prison. I hope to research, with him, who they were, what they were doing, and why they wound up in graves so far from home.

Obviously these are just a few ideas. I would certainly love to hear yours! What are your plans for making this Confederate Heritage Month special?

Archibald Gracie Camp #985
New York, N.Y.
1-800-MY-DIXIE (1-800-693-4943)