Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local News

April 25, 2014

Confederate Memorial Day today

THOMASVILLE — On March 12, 1866, in The Columbus Times one can find where Georgia claims that the first Memorial Day was started in Columbus, Ga. There was an article appealing to the women of the South to observe a Memorial Day for the Confederate soldiers.

The 26th day of April, the anniversary of Gen.  Joseph E. Johnston’s surrender, was suggested as an appropriate date because in the most Southerly states, the flowers were blooming so beautifully. Georgia is the only state which can substantiate her claims to the earliest and first observance of Memorial Day.

The Rev. Donald West spoke at the John B. Gordon UDC chapter’s 140th Confederate Memorial Service which was held recently. He talked about our Southern heritage and why we still observe this day.

West stated “There are some Southerners who insist that we are still distinctive and unique from people in the rest of the country. They say we are more gentile, civil, courteous and thoughtful than people in other regions of this nation. We were taught to have good manners, to be respectful of others and to be diligent in the discharge of that old fashioned word “duty”. We know who we are.”

He asked the assembly, why do we retain these characteristics? He suggested that it comes primarily out of the trauma that enveloped the region during the War Between the States and in the years that followed.

There is no doubt that that conflict marked the psyche of the Southern people. This conflict was the bloodiest conflict this nation has yet experienced.

So why should we observe Confederate Memorial Day 150 years after it all began? So many people consider this observance an anachronistic, useless, and outmoded event; yet, something about this observance resonates deeply within us and speaks to our better natures about duty, responsibility, accountability, reverence, devotion, and challenges us to be better than we are. We understand there are still some basic standards and beliefs that strengthen us as a people, said West.

Rev. West stated, “When we observe Memorial Day, it is not now about battles and a lost cause and about hiding from racism; it is about continuing to announce to the world that faith and confidence will make a way out of defeat. That understanding helps us to walk into the voting booth and cast our votes for healthy and honest causes; it reminds us that we did not appear in a vacuum and that there is meaning and purpose in life we claim from our understanding of a God who is sovereign over warring people who makes even the wrath of men to praise Him.”

This Memorial Day the John B. Gordon chapter 383 United Daughters of the Confederacy has fulfilled their duty to honor their fallen soldiers by placing flowers on their graves.

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