Friday, June 19, 2009
Ole Miss and Southern Heritage
This writer was speaking in Memphis this week and planned to be back in town for Wednesday evening service to hear David Carpenter, a mighty man of God at the age of eighty-eight. However, due to unforeseen hindrances, I was delayed. Seeing I would not get back in time, I took time for something that had long been on my agenda. Leaving the interstate highway, I took a ride to Oxford and visited the campus of the University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss as most Southerners say.
Perhaps no University in the South has the grand heritage of the University of Mississippi. The home of William Faulkner, the great Southern writer, is on the campus. The outskirts of the campus is covered with old Southern-style houses. The Lyceum is a beautiful building serving as the center of Campus, The University Greys were a Confederate unit raised from among students at the University of Mississippi. At Gettysburg, this unit had a 100% casualty rate, with every single cadet either killed or wounded. The legendary University Greys are still the base of many heart-touching stories told by Mississippians.
Through the years, I have noticed the pride of Ole Miss graduates in their Alma mater. One almost expects an Ole Miss graduate to express pride in the Southland. In a day when Southerners denigrate their heritage, try to lose their Southern accent, and act embarrassed at our customs, I was proud to see that some semblance of Southern heritage still remains on the campus of Ole Miss. No question, the political correctness gestapo has done their damage at the University,
but I was still touched to see the Confederate monument at the center of campus. The sports programs still calls themselves the Ole Miss Rebels, as seen in the accompanying photo of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. And the band still plays the old Southern favorite, Dixie.
I am sorry that some have used these symbols to promote hatred, but hatred is not that which is good about Southern culture. I was born in Alabama. My father was born in Mississippi. I am a loyal American, but do not apologize for being a Southerner, as I believe that we are the most cultured section of our country. Southerners still possess more of the conviction and values that made our country great. So, whenever they are not playing the Crimson Tide, I will be cheering on the Ole Miss Rebels. In a day when we are told to blend in as world citizens, I am glad to see some state and regional pride left at the Universtiy of Mississippi.
Thomas Jefferson wanted to be identified, first as a Virginian. Our country was not intended to be one large nation with divisions, but a composite of states who came together voluntarily for cooperation. Yes, we are Americans, and Southeners take no back seat in loving these United States. But never, should we allow anyone to attack our state or regional loyalties. God bless America and God save the South!