Honoring the South’s past

By Jason Niblett, newseditor@laurelleadercall.com

In four southern states, Monday was a holiday. Although there weren’t large parades, marching bands, or community picnics, many state offices were closed, and there were two ceremonies in Jones County to mark the occasion.

Monday was Confederate Memorial Day, a time to honor those who died in the War Between the States. About a dozen people dressed out in period dress and took part in ceremonies in both Laurel and Ellisville. There were also people on hand to watch the gun salute.

Don Heiden, serving as the chaplain for the group of the Sons of Confederate Veterans taking part in the event, said Confederate Memorial Day is about the fathers, grandfathers, and other relatives who died standing for a purpose.

“Do you think they were evil people?” Heiden asked those in attendance. “They defended their homes for us. We ought to honor them and be thankful for them. We ought to be thankful and we ought to be prayerful.”

Heiden said the group travels across the South holding events like those in Jones County Monday. He said they share historical facts to spread “their history and our history.” He said people should be open minded to learning the true history of the group and to “honor those who have given all.”

“They did this because they loved their home. They loved their community and they loved their state,” he said. “People cared enough about their husband or their father or their grandfather that they gave the supreme sacrifice to serve their community and state.”

Confederate Memorial Day was marked in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and George Monday. South Carolina and North Carolina will celebrate Confederate Memorial Day May 10, while Texas honored Confederate Heroes Day in January.

© 2009, Laurel Leader-Call

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