Confederate descendants say heritage is under assault

By: Trent Knuckles

Claiming their heritage is under assault, and vowing to fight never ending attempts to tear down symbols of the Confederacy, the Private E.F. Arthur Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), Camp #1783 Lee-Jackson Secession Dinner was a spirited and sometimes raucous push-back against what over 100 attendees see as a creeping tide of political correctness.

"My heritage and my flag are not for sale on Ebay," said past camp Commander Ray Adkins, whose regular speeches at the dinner often serve as a rallying cry to members.

"You Yankees don’t have enough money to buy them, so go on home!"

Adkins then read a newspaper article about Confederate artifacts being destroyed. He said left unchallenged, groups that focus on erasing southern symbols will go so far as to scratch the names of Confederate soldiers off tombstones.

"Are we going to take this? We are going to let our guard down one day and they are going to take over," Adkins said. "We need to protect our heritage and our ancestors and our flag that they fought and died for. It’s up to us!"

The annual dinner is a mainstay in the nationwide SCV organization – a non-profit group dedicated to history and legacy of Confederate soldiers, particularly those who fought during the American Civil War. It was organized in Richmond, VA in 1896 and is now headquartered at a restored Antebellum mansion in Columbia, Tenn. Membership is open to all male descendents of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces.

Kentucky Division Commander Dr. Tom Hiter, a guest speaker at the dinner, said the SCV and members have not been diligent enough about teaching youth about the group’s mission and the values of the old South. He said those that support the idea of the Confederacy have been "beaten into submission" with repetitive negative messages.

"People, there is strength and power in repetition. We have not been good at doing that, but our enemies have been very good," Hiter said. "It is time for us to march and if need be to bleed and die together because our heritage is under attack."

Hiter pointed to the fact that nearly everyone can remember the Pledge of Allegiance, but even members of the SCV had to look at the words printed on the back of the dinner program to recite the Confederate Pledge. He added that groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have undertaken massive efforts to force the removal of Confederate flags and symbols from various public places – an effort he said should be vigilantly opposed.

"The Confederacy was not about slavery. It was about freedom," Hiter said. "It was about, what we call today, self-determination. We don’t repeat nearly often enough what we are really about … I am tired of being told I am politically incorrect because I remember a different south than Jesse Jackson does."

Hiter said there are two million men in Kentucky alone that are eligible for membership in the organization. SCV has about 35,000 members.

Former SCV Commander in Chief Ron Wilson, told those in attendance that an ideological battle needs to be waged daily to prevent what he sees as misinformation about the Confederacy and the SCV. A member of the Anderson County Council, he said he opposed attempts to adopt a Black History Month in that county unless his proposal for a Confederate History Month was also supported.

"The battlefields today are no longer Manassas and Shiloh; they are in the living rooms for the hearts and minds of individuals," he said.

The speeches were preceded by door prizes and awards for various members.

New officers were installed for the organization as well. All elected officers serve for two years.

Installed were: Wayne Taylor, Commander; Ronnie Bowling, 1st Lt. Commander; Moses Hamblin, 2nd Lt. Commander; Jennings Krahenbuhl, Aide De Camp; David Owens, Chief of Staff; Ronnie Bowling, Capt. Honor Guard; Les Williamson, Adjutant/Treasurer/Webmaster; Tommy Goodin, Gravestone project; Ray Adkins, Newsletter Editor; Pastor J.W. Binion, Chaplain; Jimmy Hendrickson, Heritage/Public Relations; Stacy Cox, Quartermaster; Josiah McVey, Sergeant at Arms

© 2008 by Corbin News Journal

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