Sunday, April 26, 2009

Heritage Celebration in Arkansas

Southern Heritage Celebrated

By Curt Hodges

JONESBORO — The flags placed for Confederate Heritage Month displays were fluttering and snapping on Saturday at the Southern Confederate Heritage Park, 117 Southwest Drive, Jonesboro.

The tent shelter set up earlier in the day was also feeling the effects of the wind. Several members of the Northeast Arkansas Southern Heritage Foundation weighted and protected brochures and other items on display.

Danny Honnoll of the Robert G. Shaver Camp 1655 Sons of Confederate Veterans said the organization was formed to educate people about the War Between the States and Southern heritage.

Honnoll noted that the flag commonly called the Confederate Flag depicts the Southern Cross, but it was not the only one flown during the Civil War.

“This is not a flag of hatred,” Honnoll said. “It is a symbol of our heritage. We’re not here to fly it in anyone’s face, but to talk about our heritage and the historical aspects of that period of time.”

Unit flag replicas on display Saturday included the flag of the Army of Virginia, a green Irish Brigade flag, the Gen. Richard Taylor battlefield flag (also known as the Trans-Mississippi flag), the Bonnie Blue flag with a white star in a blue field, the Missouri Battle Flag and flags of the Sixth and Seventh Arkansas Infantries. Honnoll also had the 30th Arkansas unit flag, a unit that consisted of men from the Jonesboro area.

The men on hand for the event were all dressed in Civil War-era costumes and displayed several weapons of the period.

Honnoll said the public response Saturday morning had been positive. Several people had stopped by around 11 a.m. to view the displays and talk to the men, all of whom had ancestors that served with the South during the Civil War.

The Southern Confederate Heritage Park has markers placed in honor of soldiers who served in the war. There is also a flag display, and funds are being raised with the help of Friends of the Foundation and others to erect a statue in honor of soldiers of the South during the Civil War.

“We’re very optimistic at this point that we will be able to raise the money to erect a pedestal and statue,” Honnoll said.

He said the concrete base has already been placed. Honnoll said the pedestal is estimated to cost $40,000 and the statue $50,000.

For more information contact Honnoll, president of the Northeast Arkansas Southern Heritage Foundation Inc., at 935-9830; James Langley, vice president, or M. Ray Jones, treasurer, at 933-7401 or by mail at P.O. Box 16876, Jonesboro 72403.