Wednesday, July 24, 2013

SCV Reunion: Fight for States' Rights Continues

A Belle's Eye View


Fight to re-assert states' rights continues

Published: Monday, July 22, 2013 12:12 PM CDT

Historically, Vicksburg, Miss., has not been a good place to be in July.

I’m happy to report that things have changed. Last week was the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ 118th annual Reunion, and it was grand.

Vicksburg itself is a lovely town, full of history, good food and the very nicest folks. Mississippi, alas, does seem to have a problem with its roads, and I have never been tailgated so much in my life.

Mind you, I drive the speed limit or 5 miles per hour over it. I stay in the right-hand land unless passing, and still I had people trying to attach themselves to my bumper.

The Military Park is sobering, and not just because of the amount of headstones in the cemetery. It does give one pause to see the elaborate monuments of Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and Michigan — and realize all those young men died attacking a people defending themselves against the invader.

You cannot swing a dead cat in the park without hitting a Union monument. Finally — finally — when touring the park and the seeming interminable Yankee lines, you come to the far more modest Southern monuments. Given the economic ruin of the region, it is actually more impressive to me that those states, even in the midst of the stranglehold of Reconstruction, honored those who fought in defense of their homes.

The reunion itself — actually more of a convention — was typical. Meetings and events started late, but there was a lack of political intrigue and shenanigans, which was refreshing. A good time was had by all at the ball, and Paris, Tenn.’s own Jason Wade played with the 52nd Infantry String Band.

But perhaps most importantly, those in attendance recommitted themselves to the important works of preserving our Southern heritage and recognizing all those who fought for the CSA.

There has been a special interest in making sure those soldiers of color are recognized and their existence acknowledged. There are those for whom it is politically expedient to pretend they didn’t fight, or if they did, that it was under duress.

But thanks to the dogged efforts of their descendants, they are taking their rightful place in history, recognized with their own monuments, and their descendants welcomed with open arms.

There are also important battles looming, from keeping those who would sweep the history of the CSA under the rug, or perhaps even worse, change and pervert it, to the free-speech issues which may eventually lead to a Supreme Court case.

The fight is ongoing, and — despite the enemy’s belief that surely, surely, 150 years later the South will forget — continues to draw adherents to it. Over the past year, 18 new camps were chartered, and there are several more in the offing.

Were the Cause the disreputable cause of slavery, the enemy would be right. There would be no continuing fight, there would be no righteous indignation at having our ancestors portrayed as the very incarnation of evil itself.

No, as you look around the current political climate in our country it is very obvious that those who were willing to live in caves and endure the siege of Vicksburg, who sacrificed their lives, their property, their very way of life, were correct.

An empowered federal government which is willing to suspend the constitutional rights of its people and seeks only to enlarge its power is the antithesis of what the founding fathers envisioned for our country.

The fight to re-assert states’ rights as enumerated in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution continues. It is a battle worth winning, and I am confident one the SCV will continue.

CHRISTINE BARR is an award-winning professor of English, mother of four and descendent of Watauga settlers who now resides in Katy, Texas. Her email address is