Let the Southern flag fly and let the band play Dixie!

Football, Confederate flag and The Band Played Dixie

Calvin E. Johnson Jr.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
   
The beautiful Confederate flag of Dixie is in the news again and….

It is reported that a Southern Heritage group has purchased land in Richmond, Virginia, to fly a 10-by-15 foot Confederate flag on Interstate 95 in the city. Susan Hathaway founder of the Virginia Flaggers said:

“The sole intention of this is to honor our ancestors.”

Currently a poll on flying the Confederate flag in Richmond shows 70 percent voted that it’s about history and heritage.

Do you remember those autumn days of high school and college football when…

The Ole Miss Cheerleaders and school Mascot Colonel Reb lifted the spirit of fans who waved Confederate flags and cheered when the band played Dixie? Today, however, Colonel Reb has been replaced and flag waving has been discouraged. Some call for sensitivity and understanding toward some, but apparently this respect does not apply toward Southern Americans who love God and are proud of their native Southland for which many books and movies are written about.

Do you remember when….

School bands from North and South of the Mason-Dixon Line played Dixie at school sports games? Do you know the history of the song Dixie that is a joyful sound of inspiration and pride for many people? Do you know the truth about the Confederate Battle flag?

In 1859, Ohio Native Dan Emmett first performed “Dixie” in New York City to an enthusiastic-cheerful crowd. Two years later, on February 18, 1861, the band played Dixie at the Inauguration of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Montgomery, Alabama.

And on April 14, 1865, after General Robert E. Lee’s surrender, President Abraham Lincoln said: “Now Let the Band Play Dixie; it belongs neither to the South, nor to the North but to us all.”-—New York Times Sunday Magazine, August 11, 1907.

For 150 years,  American school bands have played Dixie including the Milton High school “Dixie Eagles” Band who performed Dixie at the invitation and inauguration of the late Lester G. Maddox as Governor of Georgia in January 1967. The 1956 Georgia State flag with a Confederate flag in its design was also flying proud.

The late country music singer Johnny Cash sang Dixie at the Ford Theater in Washington, D.C. to then-President Jimmy Carter and members of the United States Congress. Dixie has been performed by many great musicians including; Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Lawrence Welk, Louis Armstrong and the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd who have displayed the Confederate flag at their concerts.

Roz Bowie, a proud Black Southern Lady, sang Dixie in 1986 at the reburial of a Confederate Soldier in Columbia, South Carolina.

So, what happened to the song Dixie that has lifted the souls of students, teachers, parents and fans? Many of our institutions of learning have stopped playing Dixie even though the song is universally loved.

In a cemetery in Mount Vernon, Ohio, lies Dan Emmett, the Composer of Dixie, whose headstone reads: “Daniel Decatur Emmett 1815 – 1904 whose song ’ Dixie Land’ inspired the courage and devotion of the Southern people and now thrills the hearts of a reunited nation.” Three miles North of Emmett’s grave are the graves of Ben and Lew Snowden of a Black musical family. On their tombstone are the words “They taught “Dixie” to Dan Emmett.

Let the Southern flag fly and let the band play Dixie!

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