Confederate flags removed from graves of Civil War veterans
By Lauren Baheri / Halifax Media Group
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Kirk Carter was crushed to see the Confederate flags he helped place on the graves of Civil War veterans tossed into the brush at the side of a cemetery in Clover, S.C.
Carter and his Sons of Confederate Veterans group, the Pvt. Thomas Caldwell camp, place the flags there each year in honor of South Carolina’s unofficial heritage and history month.
Members met at Bethany Associate Reformed Presbyterian cemetery May 10 for a memorial service on what is known as Confederate Memorial Day. They placed flags on the graves in a show of reverence, said Carter, who lives in Kings Mountain. On May 18, when Carter went to visit the graves, the flags were gone.
He found them thrown over a wall in the back of the cemetery, scattered in the brush.
“My heart was broken and at the same time my blood was boiling,” he said. “The thought that someone would do such a deed and disrespect the dead in such a manner is despicable.”
Carter contacted the cemetery’s caretaker.
“He was not aware and would like to prosecute whoever has done this despicable deed, who desecrated those graves,” he said.
Carter filed a report of vandalism with the York County Sheriff’s Office. According to the police report, there were 88 flags throughout the cemetery. Collectively, they were worth $160. No suspects have been identified in the vandalism.
Carter believes the motive could only have been two things: ignorance and meanness.
“The topic of, of course, slavery comes up,” he said. “None of my ancestors even held slaves, less than 15 percent of the South had slaves. It was an issue but not a cause.”
Carter said he and the Sons of the Confederate Veterans seek to educate the public on the Civil War.
“We should always know about our heritage and history and we should always be proud of our heritage and history,” he said. “I encourage everyone, no matter where they’re from, to take pride in knowing their past.”
Carter said the sheriff’s office told him in cases like this it is hard to discover leads. To aid in the arrest of those responsible, the Sons of Confederate Veterans camp will offer a reward of $300 to $500.
“I think the community needs to be aware of this because the community is basically another police force that can possibly be more alert on watching out for vandals or whoever would be responsible,” he said.
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