Confederate group rejects hate groups, helps community
By Steve Jones - firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Carter says it's hard enough for his organization to carry out its primary mission - tending to the graves of Confederate soldiers - without having to continually fight misconceptions that the Sons of Confederate Veterans somehow longs for a return to the days when slavery was legal.
"We are not associated, we are not linked in any way, shape or form with hate groups," Carter said.
Carter is president of Litchfield Camp 132, a group that was recently given permission to hold its third annual Confederate Memorial Day service April 23 on the grounds of the Horry County Courthouse in Conway.
The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. and will include speeches, taps, prayers, pledges to the U.S., S.C., Christian and Confederate battle flags, a 21-gun salute, mortar firings and the reading of the names of the 98 Horry County residents who died fighting for the Confederacy.
Carter said the names will be read by the organization's ladies auxiliary, Daughters of the Confederate Rose, who will be dressed in mourning black. A bell will toll as each name is read.
The whole thing, he said, will take about 45 minutes.
Carter and others in the organization believe the Civil War was an economic war, and that Lincoln fought secession so the United States could continue receiving the tariffs that came from the goods imported through Southern ports. Carter said 95 percent of the tariffs at the time came through states south of the Mason-Dixon line and that the loss of that revenue would have sunk the less-than-100-year-old federal government.
The website of the state organization, scscv.com, backs up what Carter says.
It says the organization does not at all condone the institution of slavery and it understands that slavery was an issue at the time the war began, 150 years ago this year.
"The SCV has removed, and will remove, any member who expresses racist sentiments," the website says.
Additionally, any member found recruiting for racist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, American Nazi Party or National Alliance, disseminating racist literature or promoting the violent overthrow of the U.S. government will be immediately dismissed.
"If I heard any black jokes or if I heard statements or saw any evidence of anti-government feeling," Carter says, "the long and short of it, [the person who did it] would be banned."
That taken care of, Carter talks proudly of what his camp's 95 members do in Horry County.
He said there are 155 cemeteries in the county with the graves of 550 Confederate veterans, and Litchfield Camp members see that they are kept cleaned, have proper grave markers and display Confederate battle flags to honor the veterans. Some members see that the gravesites of World War I and World War II vets in the cemeteries they are assigned are equally well-tended and marked with American flags.
Carter's own great-great-grandfather, a private in the Confederate Army, is buried at Rehobeth Cemetery in Aynor.
The Litchfield Camp has had booths at past Aynor Hoedowns and Loris Bogoffs, and, for the first time this year, has rented booth space for the spring Harley rally. Additionally, the camp presents a Junior ROTC member at eight of Horry County's nine high schools the H.L. Hunley Award for dignity and honor.
Carter said Myrtle Beach High School won't allow the award there.
Members clean a roadway in the Conway area as part of the state's Adopt-A-Highway program.
And they present baskets to the needy at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Carter said he's taken aback by the negativity with which some automatically view the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
"Who can cast shame on a man who wants to honor the graves of his ancestors?" he asks. "We simply mind our own business and tend our graves."
Read more: http://www.thesunnews.com/2011/02/07/1966788/confederate-group-not-haters-just.html#ixzz1DWX6xaZq