Battle rages in central Virginia, echoes of the Civil War.
An important part of the Culture War has erupted in Richmond and Appomattox, Virginia. And it may be awakening a Southern titan..maybe not.
by Mark Vogl
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Richmond and Appomattox, Virginia are presently sites for one heck of a battle between Southerners over the flying of Confederate colors.
Taking their cue from ABC News and other “objective” mainstream news organizations which believe they should not wear the American flag on their lapels when they report the news, some Southerners in positions of authority are refusing to fly Confederate colors at historic places like the Museum of the Confederacy, and a Chapel once used by Confederate Veterans housed in an old soldiers home.
Richmond, Virginia is also the site of a battle between the Department of Veterans of Affairs and the Sons of Confederate Veterans concerning the proper honors for between twelve and fourteen thousand Confederate veterans who are entitled to headstones to be provided by the V.A. And in the Shenandoah Valley, the City of Lexington, home of the remains of both Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, has changed its policies concerning the flying of the various Confederate flags on City property. Lexington is the home of Washington – Lee University and Virginia Military Institute. It is one of the most hallowed sites in the entire South.
These culture war battles are a continuation of previous actions in Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas which began in the late eighties, early nineteen nineties to marginalize the Southern presence. Times have changed since the 100 th Anniversary of the American Civil War where the nation, under John F. Kennedy, took great pains to honor the South. Not this time.
This time the Sesquicentennial Anniversary (150th) has been turned into a nation-wide opportunity to shame the South, dishonor those who served the South, and sweep as much American history as possible under the rug.
The national leadership of the United Daughters of the Confederacy appear to be complicit in the ongoing actions to hide the Confederate colors in Richmond. And Waite Rawls, a graduate of Virginia Military Institute, member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Director of the Museum of the Confederacy has been the spokesperson for the Museum explaining the reasons for not flying the Confederate flag at Appomattox. Pointing to reunification as the result of Appomattox. Rawls has said it would not be appropriate to fly the colors there.
However, the national leadership of the Sons of Confederate Veterans have finally been awakened to the ongoing struggles. The national board of directors of the Sons of Confederate Veterans recently passed a resolution calling on its membership to boycott the grand opening of a new Annex of the Museum of the Confederacy at Appomattox, while simultaneously calling on the museum to fly one Confederate flag at the new site.
And in a letter to the thirty thousand members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Michael Givens has begun the process to rally his forces for an extended fight. But Givens knows the membership of the S.C.V. has proven to be an unreliable political force. Last summer when Givens called on the various state organizations of the SCV to act in support of Virginia concerning the headstones at Oakwood Cemetery, the reaction was not all it could have been.
A few hard core leaders in Texas attempted to organize a mail campaign to federal elected officials to make them aware of the VA’s failure to meet the law passed in Congress. Texas had the potential to generate 10,000 letters from its members. But another group of leaders within the Texas SCV (known as grannies) blocked that mail offensive, and only a pitiful 400 letters were sent from Texas. Texas had been in the national news concerning vanity license plates, but the Texas SCV folded its colors when Governor Perry dismissed their application.
So this new effort by the Sons of Confederate Veterans under Michael Givens will be a real test of the membership. Will the membership rally across the South to support the Cause…or will they follow the lead of the Texas grannies and let political correctness rule the day?
Givens is organizing things using the most modern communcation technologies. He is a proven leader and communicator and will be breaking new ground in coordinating efforts across Dixie. If Givens can rally a large segment of the thirty thousand members there may be a new voice in the Culture War in America.
Interestingly, the catalyst for all this activity are disaffected local members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and Sons of Confederate Veterans who were tired of inaction by the large heritage organizations. Susan Hathaway has risen to an important leadership role in this ongoing heritage battle. But she insists there are many involved and she is only one of many who want to see appropriate honors to the ancestors who sacrificed all for home and hearth.
For more information about the modern Southern movement visit the Confederate War College and read “Is there a Southern Movement in America?”
©2012 Mark Vogl