Article on Cow Cavalry Memorial
You are a true credit to your profession, and trust me, that is not a compliment.
I would like to address several issues I have with your article, before I discuss the issues I have with you personally.
Firstly, the dresses worn by Chapter Members were worn because of a long standing tradition. We are the annual hostesses for Pioneer Day. We have been doing this for well over a decade. We did not just decide to wear them for the dedication itself. Secondly, these pieces of period attire, not plantation dresses, are copies of period dresses. These dresses were not only native to the South, although we do tend to be known more for our dresses than our Northern Sisters do. Even though, during the actual period, the Northern Ladies did have the more expensive fabric and the newer designs from England, and France. Might I recommend Juanita Leisch’s primer "Who Wore What" as a resource?
Secondly, the gentlemen who came with the bike group were not expressly invited by our group but were graciously welcomed just the same. Do you know why? Because they were there looking out for the interests of our membership. They feared after reading the article in the Tampa Tribune, and seeing the reports on Fox 13, that someone would come to the dedication to harass the ladies. Can you say you came with such pure motives? Did you notice the reverence they showed at the memorial? Did you see past the grizzled beards and colors on the back of the jacket? Did you notice that covers were removed, and heads were bowed at appropriate times? Did you see how they held back from the memorial until all those who had been invited had seen the memorial? Sir, did you know that in living history circles, Hard Core is a designation given to re-enactors who are true to the period in both dress and actions. It is a high honor, and one I believe these gentlemen are more than qualified to hold that designation.
Thirdly, not every gentleman in attendance was with the bike group.
Fourth, the package that Ms. Mathis describes was an informational packet sent to all city officials the day before the city commission meeting. As far as any complaints from city residents, we have been raising funds for this memorial for seven years, and articles about the monument have run, on average once a year for the past seven years. The Tampa Trib, and your subsequent article are the first that have had any type of negative slant to them. Unfortunately, you will never get the entire population of an area to agree one hundred percent on anything.
Now, I would like to voice my displeasure, at how this has unraveled. We welcomed you into our dedication, to show that we held no malice towards any. Many of my chapter members spoke at length with you, telling you of our ancestry and our hard work and their dedication to the principles set down by our forefathers and mothers. You spoke with Mr. Bethune, and told him, with many witnesses, that you would present a nice article that treated the event fairly. I fail to see, how this article does that, when, Ms. Mathis’ positions are reiterated ad nauseum, yet the other side of the story is given minimal interest. I would call it lip service; however, lip service is more in depth than this is.
I would hope, that in the future you remember, that a byline is only good for the printing, while a Man’s word, is good for his life.
Delicia C. Wallnofer