This will break your heart and piss you off worse than Franklin’s mayor. This came to via a former Georgia Confederate of the Year. I understand the desire to ‘play nice’ but enough already! RISE UP VIRGINIA!

Please seriously consider this idea as an option…

Secure a parade permit from the church to the Fort for Nov 12th.

The family, civilians, and clergy will stage inside the cemetery, adorned with rather large BattleFlag pins and SCV pins and whatever the UDC ladies decide to do.

An individual will secret an appropriate Confederate Battle Flag inside his jacket.

Uniformed soldiers will line the sidewalk around the church cemetery.

The Color Guard will form outside cemetery in direct view of the participants with every pertinent flag present as well flapping in the Sweet Virginia Breeze.

Proceed with the graveside service as planned.

At the appropriate moment, either via cell phone or walkie talkie, broadcast the signal to the awaiting Firing Squad formed inside the fort 1 block away to do their 21 gun salute, then have EVERYONE sing Dixie.

Gently unfurl the stashed CBF and lay it on the graves, then pick it up.

Everyone then withdraws from the PC cemetery, forms into a parade, marches across to the Fort, and there the CBF is folded by the Guard, presented to the family, and hold the rest of the ceremony on friendly ground.

I feel this will give the men as good a service as possible under the circumstances, and it will show the weak minds honor deserves honor, not submission to PC.
Thanx & God Bless
Billy Bearden

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Regretfully, I must announce that the Rector, Vestry, and Cemetery Committee, of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, located at 1214 Wilmer Avenue Richmond, Virginia 23227, has decided that the rites of military honors will not be rendered at the graves of Privates George Fitzhugh Vass and Townshend Dade Vass. As you are all aware, these two Confederate Soldiers were two of three brothers who were members of Company H 4th Virginia Cavalry, which was commonly known as the "Black Horse Troop". These two brothers were both killed in action, two years apart, in the defense of their country, and buried, one atop of the other, in the Emmanuel Episcopal Church Cemetery. A grave marker dedication service for these two brave soldiers was planned for November 12, 2006 at 2:00 P.M. and was to be co-hosted by the General Robert E. Lee Camp # 1589 Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Captain William Latane Camp # 1690. The dedication service was to include the excellent color guard of the Latane Camp, a chaplain, uniformed firing squad to render honors over the graves, and a bagpiper.

On September 24th, 2006, I received a letter from Mr. Robert B. Moffett Jr., vestryman and chairman of the cemetery committee of the Emmanuel Church. In his letter, Mr. Moffett stated that the church had some African and African American members and that the church would not allow any Confederate Uniforms, Confederate Flags, or a uniformed rifle squad for the rendering military honors over the graves of these two Confederate Soldiers. Mr. Moffett stated that this policy would be the same whether the were Confederate or United States Soldiers. Mr. Moffett said that the only display of the Confederate Flag that would be permissible would be the wearing of a small lapel pin on our clothing. Obviously, these soldiers did not fight and die under a lapel pin!

On October 3rd, 2006, I personally met with the Reverend John R. West Jr., Rector of the Emmanuel Church, Mr. Robert B. Moffett Jr., Vestryman and Chairman of the Cemetery Committee, and Mr. Thomas F. Giles Jr., Junior Warden of the Church. These gentlemen were very gracious and courteous in receiving me and listened intently to my request for a proper dedication service with military honors to be provided for the Vass brothers. My request was denied. These gentlemen then allowed me as much time as I thought necessary to present my position as to why this dedication should be allowed to go forward. I advised them that I was speaking both as a representative of the Vass Family and as a representative of the Gen. Robert E. Lee Camp in making this request. As part of my presentation I offered them the rich Confederate history of their church, the precedents set by their church in honoring their Confederate dead, the help and involvement of the Episcopal Church in the rendering of military honors to the crew of the Hundley in Charleston, South Carolina. I presented them with 8 X 10 color photographs of the Episcopal Church’s participation in those dedication ceremonies. Reverend West displayed great attention as I explained to him the history of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, going into great detail that our organization was not a racist hate group and that we sought only to honor the memory of our Confederate Ancestors. In closing, I stated that to my knowledge, no church in the United States had ever denied military rites to be rendered over the grave of an American Soldier. Reverend West then reaffirmed his decision to deny my request but did authorize us to conduct a religious service at the grave sites in civilian attire without flags, uniforms, or military honors.

I asked Reverend West for clarification on this matter and put the question to him in this manner: "Sir, are you saying to me that your policy of no uniforms, flags, or military honors over the graves of soldiers is equally applied to Confederate Soldiers, Soldiers who served in the Armed Forces of the United States, police officers, and firefighters?" To this question Reverend West replied that he would make these decisions on a case by case basis. I responded, " Sir, in that each of these cases involve uniforms, flags, and military honors rendered by a uniformed firing squad, how could they be decided separately if these cases involved the same elements?" Reverend West would only reply that he would decide each case individually. Reverend West indicated that he had consulted with the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee, Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, on this matter and that the Bishop supported his decision.

At this time, I plan to go ahead with a dedication service for these two Virginia Soldiers on November 12, 2006. My preliminary plan at this time, is to conduct a grave side prayer service at 1:30 P.M. to be attended by civilian attired family, SCV, and UDC members, during which a family representative with unveil the newly placed Confederate Grave Markers. The attendees will then leave the church property and drive one block north of the church to the Confederate Fort at the north end of the Brook Run Shopping Center at 2:00 P.M., where they will be met by the Color Guard, uniformed reenactors, firing squad, and speakers. A memorial service will then be held at that historic location and the volleys rendered. I have no doubt that those volleys will be heard by anyone remaining on the grounds of the Emmanuel Church.

I wish to thank all of you for your prayers and support in this effort to honor the sacrifice of these two soldiers and look forward to seeing you all on November 12th. God Bless you all.

I have the very great honor to remain,
Your most humble and obedient servant

John Henry Taylor
General Robert E. Lee Camp # 1589
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Midlothian, Virginia

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