North Carolina Governor Welcomes Confederate Veterans
“In his address of welcome to the United Confederate Veterans, in reunion at Charlotte, N.C., Gov. O. Max Gardner told the story of the rebuilding of the South by its own men and women, saying:
“This is a proud day for North Carolina. This occasion has deeply touched the hearts of our people. I, therefore, speaking in the name of my people, bring you more than their word of welcome; I bring you assurance of their love and devotion. For more than sixty years you have been fighting gallantly with us and for us. You have sacrificed much and risked all. Your lives have been an inspiration to our children and a benediction upon our efforts to rebuild that which was destroyed by war. We not only, in gratitude, welcome you, but in proud affection we here to-day claim you for our own.
Sixty years ago, the South was beaten and prostrate. Our material wealth had been consumed or destroyed; most of our men had been killed or incapacitated in battle; our spirit was apparently broken. Anarchy and terror seemed imminent. It was the twilight of our Southern civilization, and despair settled over our land. Then began the greatest struggle of all, which I call the second phase of the War Between the States.
But at this critical junction of affairs, the men and women of the South joined battle with their own doubts and fears. They gathered for a last desperate charge upon the somber battlements of despair…they hurled at the force of lawlessness, poverty, and ignorance which was threatening our very heritage of civilization a defiant challenge. Plows were started, schools reopened, elections held. It was a long and bitter struggle, and by the end of the century hope had returned and victory was well in sight. And this story of the rebuilding of the South, carried on in the face of almost heartbreaking difficulties forms one of the most glorious chapters in the history of the Anglo-Saxon race. And our victory was essentially a victory of spirit.
It is my proud privilege to welcome you to North Carolina. To us here it seems indeed that you have just come home; that somehow we must convey to you the thought which to-day is close to the hearts of our people that we not only honor you as we honor our own fathers and mothers, but that we love you and shall be happy if you feel that you have made our home your home.
I recall at this moment the inscription on the Confederate monument at Arlington, and here repeat the tribute: “Not for fame or reward, not for place or power, not lured by ambition or goaded by necessity, but in simple obedience to duty as they understood it, these men suffered all, sacrificed all, dared all, and died.”
“Rebuilding the South,” Confederate Veteran Magazine, July 1929, pp. 249-250)