Writer Knew Little About Confederacy

Letters To The Editor

Published: June 26, 2009

Last week I read a letter from a female in Damascus, Va., who sounded somewhat distraught about the custom of honoring Confederate veterans on Memorial Day. After reading her letter, I could only shake my head in disbelief. As one who has been an enthusiast, researcher and collector on the American Civil War, as well as being a descendant of those who participated in the conflict, I took some mild offense to her concept of that portion or our country’s history.

It was obvious that her knowledge of the Civil War is very, very limited. It was relative to that of a sixth-grader. Too many people express their opinions based on so little knowledge of an issue that they have no idea how it can belittle their intellect to others. That is why I urge all people to seek to learn more of what needs to be known of a subject before expressing themselves publicly. And that is what our libraries are for, along with many other institutions of higher learning. A person can never get enough education.

Regarding the letter: The men who fought for the Confederate States of America were citizens of the United States. The people of the Confederacy knew from the onset that they could never conquer the United States. Their goal was autonomy, to be a separate nation. They did not so much fight against the United States as they fought for their respective states and the Confederacy as a nation. Before the end of the war, then-President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation of full amnesty for all who served and adhered to the Confederacy. After the war, all states that seceded from the Union were readmitted one by one. U.S. citizen rights were returned to all people who accepted the surrender of the Confederacy immediately after it was signed.

To sum it all up, it was an American war fought only by Americans. And as President Lincoln stated in his Gettysburg Address, “These honored dead shall not have died in vain.”

That is why honor is bestowed on both sides at every Memorial Day.

I do not know everything about the Civil War, but I am still learning because I want to learn.

I am a decorated veteran of the United States Armed Forces and proud to have served.

Michael Terry
Abingdon, Va.