Civil War dead deserve respect
Special to the Times-Union
This is in response to an item in Rants & Raves titled "Hanging on to hatred."
The writer observed that people who are proud of the Confederacy and all it stood for are those who are "poor and uneducated" and want to "hang on to a past when white people were in charge."
Nothing could be further from the truth.
As a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, I am proud of our heritage but not some things, including slavery, that were part of this country before or during the Confederacy.
I stand and put my hand over my heart when I say the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States flag, even though slavery flourished under it from the time of our independence until the War Between the States ended.
I do the same when the Battle Hymn of the Republic or the national anthem is played.
But as a Southerner, I also give the same respect to Dixie and the Confederate battle flag.
Anybody who knows history knows that the battle flag was not a national flag, like the national flags of the Confederacy or the American flag.
It was a battle flag, a soldier’s flag used on the battlefield.
Many good boys died on both sides under their respective battle flags.
They all deserve our respect and admiration.
I have heroes on both sides of the conflict, but my roots are in Georgia, where my heritage resides.
I have ancestors who died fighting for the Confederacy on such battlefields as Gettysburg, Vicksburg and others.
They are buried there, respectively. I believe they died for a cause they thought was just.
I believe that the dead on both sides (more Americans died in the War Between the States than all the wars America has ever fought) deserve our utmost respect.
It’s not a matter of longing for the days of the antebellum South.
It’s an admiration for knowing a history that your family and ancestors were part of and died for.
We all learn from the past, and may God help us if we can’t learn from it or forget it.
J. JERRY MCDANIEL,
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