Attendees celebrate history, ancestors at annual event

By Alvin Benn

Some call it Scotch-Irish genetics, others a fierce in­dependence to remain free from the control and taxation of a central government.

Whatever it might be, those who settled in the South from Scotland and Ireland brought with them something unique in the annals of human history, according to speakers at Alabama Secession Day.

"The reason we act like we do is in our DNA," said Todd Kiscaden of Virginia. "We’re Celtic people and we love to fight. When there’s no enemy to fight, we fight each other."

More than 100 spectators, many of whom trace their ancestry to the founding of the country, spent Saturday listening to Kiscaden and others during the 147th anniversary of the day Alabama seceded from the Union.

Held at the state Capitol auditorium, the event also included speeches from the Rev. Von McQueen, Franklin Sanders and John Eidsmoe.

Kiscaden spoke about the "history and origin of the Southern People" while McQueen addressed spiritual aspects of the Civil War.

Sanders, of Tennessee, talked about the economic structure of the United States leading up to the war while Eidsmoe, a professor at Faulkner’s Jones School of Law, addressed "the original intent of the founding fathers, the constitution and the validity of secession."

Kiscaden’s animated lecture captivated the audience — several uttered loud "Amens" as he spoke.

Using a printed timeline that stretched across a wall of the auditorium, Kiscaden focused on the people who lived in Britain at a time when European invaders tried repeatedly to subdue them.

After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, those native to the British Isles found themselves forced to surrender, convert or die.

In many instances, Kiscaden said, they went down fighting or fell back to fight another day.

Later, rather than be subjugated by British forces, he said, Scottish and Irish families moved to what would become the United States.

Kiscaden said Pennsylvania Quakers who were conscientious objectors in Lancaster hired Scotch-Irish immigrants to fight Indians for them. That led to a migration into the South where land was plentiful.

"Those people could fight because they were our ancestors," said Kiscaden, who added that spirit remains in Scotch-Irish Americans today.

He said the secessionist movement that led to the Civil War in 1861 has had supporters in other parts of the country throughout U.S. history.

"There is an effort right now in parts of New England to secede from the Union and create a new confederation," said Kiscaden, who said similar concerns are growing in Southwest states over Mexican immigration.

McQueen, an Alabama minister and teacher, mentioned several historic events, comparing them to "waves coming ashore." He said there is no reason to believe it can’t happen again.

"Napoleon lost at Waterloo, the South lost at Gettysburg and we may have met our Waterloo in Baghdad and Iraq," said McQueen.

Patricia Godwin of Selma, who helped organize the event, said the commemoration was an effort to "teach the truth because they don’t teach it in our public schools."

"It’s only at the Cradle of the Confederacy here on secession day will you have the truth and the truth will set you free," she said.

Bumper stickers were handed out at the event, including one that said "Remember The Alamo — Stop Illegal Immigration."

Many spectators arrived with bumper stickers already on their vehicles. One said: "Proud Descendant of a Confederate Soldier."

Copyright © 1997- 2007 The Advertiser Co

On The Web: