I have been reflecting on what my Southern heritage means to me. I wonder what my 3rd great grandfather would have answered if asked the same question. There are no records left behind detailing how he felt when he surrendered with the 37th Virginia. Nothing passed down to his daughter about why he chose to fight. One can only surmise why. Unlike many others he had a farm to return to. Family waited there for him. No record has been found about whether former friends and neighbors scorned him for his Confederate service. So back to my original premise, what does my heritage mean to me? To me it is a heritage to be proud of, and proclaimed. It is a heritage unlike many others up here in Upper Dixie, the land North of the Mason-Dixon line. It is a heritage bestowed upon me as a birth-right, like so many others have had the privilege. Our southern heritage speaks volumes of history about Liberty. What it is and what it isn’t. To many up here in the North, they do not understand how liberty and my heritage fit together. They somehow equate liberty with material possessions. I have told them there is no quantifiable value given for liberty, because they and their family have never had to suffer for it or endure a military occupation for it. As I teach my daughter of her birth right to claim Southern heritage as her own, and what it is and it isn’t, I can see she is starting to understand it now, as it all starts to make sense to her. I read many posts in SHNV and one thing I find in all the posts, the one quality that runs through them is an unmentioned, red hot streak, of the dream of a true and free Southland. Freedom. Liberty. The right to be left alone. That I wonder might be the one thing my confederate grandfather might have said. What would he say about the South now, today? I don’t know that they would understand what has become of Dixie, once they learned how, might they be moved again to break away, and try for liberty again? I am now convinced more than before that I am now a "Southern Nationalist". I see an out of control central government, that bows to no one but itself, and then only to love itself. I see a government that has decided to intervene in the lives of its citizens in ways that it was never designed to do. I think about the generation of Southern Americans who 1860-61 decided that it was a now or never play for independence, as a central government grabbed for more money and power. My heritage is based on Liberty, the right to be left alone. The right to tell a central government, "No more!", is not gone, it is still there. I see others everyday who realize that they too have Southern heritage, and I watch them grow in the knowledge that the South was right. Right to fight for Liberty, the right to be left alone. Yes the War for Southern Independence is over but 141 years, As the descendents of those brave enough to tell a government gone wild to go to Hell, the dream still lives on in us, and our children. My heritage means to pass that dream and aspiration of a free Southern nation onto my child, and her children and so on. Will we be successful in our bid for Liberty, the right to be left alone? As a Southern Nationalist, I see the ranks growing. We are a people of a separate and distinct culture. We have begun to re-awaken, and realize the heritage that we have been given is at risk. It is up to us, this generation of Southrons, to initiate a return to Liberty, the right to be left alone. There are many ways to victory, cultural is one, political is another. I do believe that all of us of Southern extraction have a Liberty/Freedom gene in our DNA. We all exhibit the same signs of it. Where did it come from? Our Confederate ancestors had it in them when they went to war for it. Yes, we are Southern Americans. The time for being defensive about our heritage stops now, we should be offensive, and in our enemies face time and time again until they leave us alone. Liberty. My Southern heritage means Liberty to me.
Well, I will get off my soapbox now.-jj
John Jeffers, Camp Commander,
Camp Douglas Memorial #1507, Chicago
Illinois Division Recruiting and Communications Officer
Signal Officer Army of Tennessee