Letter: Remembering Confederate Veterans, motives of war
April 3, 2010
I spent some time Saturday morning with friends of mine in the Sons of Confederate Veterans placing flags on the graves of Confederate veterans in Oak Hill Cemetery in downtown Prattville.
These particular graves date from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. It did not matter how long the interment was after the War Against the States, these men wanted it known forever that they were in the CSA (Confederates States Army). Their message to posterity is indelibly inscribed on their headstones. They and their families knew who they were and were proud of it.
We, the descendants, of these CSA veterans feel an emulation of this same pride resurging each year in April, when we celebrate Confederate History and Heritage Month.
Though my Confederate heritage paternally comes from south Mississippi near Hattiesburg and maternally from south Alabama around Grove Hill, it is interesting to stroll through the past in this Prattville cemetery and peruse the names on the headstones. Both surnames and first names of these ancestors survived history and were still alive in the friends that I made when I moved to Prattville in the mid-1950s.
A war against the States, it was. It was, in reality and ostensibly, a desperate, futile struggle against federal despotism engaging the most inhumane methods of war in world history. It is still erroneously taught in public schools that the war was between the north and the south. These geographic areas have no more meaning in the battles other than from where most of the participants for each respective army were conscripted.
When the smoke cleared in 1865, there was a new vision of democracy, the republic, the constitution and the federal government. In the Declaration of Independence, we referred to ourselves as free and independent states.
When our Confederate ancestors were crushed, along with their demise went all state sovereignty. The result has since rendered the words, "democracy," "republic" and "constitution" mere rhetoric.