I’ve just returned from the SCV Reunion in Dalton, Georgia, and couldn’t be happier. Denne Sweeney won the election for Commander-In-Chief, and Anthony Hodges won the race for Lt. Commander. Both promised increased activism in the defense of Southern heritage, and backed those promises with impressive resumes of actual success stories dealing with politicians, fundraising, and managing people. In other words, just the kind of men the SCV must have to deal with an increasingly hostile political environment. (One of Hodges’ slogans I particularly liked was "Heritage OFFENSE – not defense!")

Many of the amendments and resolutions the reformers and activists worked for passed, though not all (life is never perfect!).

Those of us who endured the mind-numbing boredom of roll-call votes that effectively blocked almost everything the reformers tried to accomplish at Asheville were delighted to see that problem dealt with decisively this year. Motions for roll-call votes were handled with paper ballots that were counted later, enabling the convention to move along to the next issue quickly. Another, brilliant innovation — bringing in a professional parliamentarian — kept things moving along nicely. At the end of just the first full day, everyone could feel the charged atmosphere of an energized convention, the result of actually discussing and taking action on vital issues. The pleasant surprise of accomplishment on the first day was not a fluke — the rest of the convention was also productive, thanks in large part to the careful planning of the organizers and leadership. It was a beautiful thing to behold.

While some constitutional changes, such as in the composition of the Executive Council, were not passed, there is no doubt that the mood of the convention was firmly in favor of reforming the SCV to meet the challenges of today, such as aggressive heritage defense, pro-active educational projects such as the Sam Davis Youth Camp, and the continuation of the field representative program. (In fact, CIC candidate Troy Massey ran an impressive campaign focusing on "constitutional modernization" and no-nonsense heritage defense, and Lt. Commander candidate Paul Gramling also stressed his commitment to continuing Ron Wilson’s innovations.) We had some fine candidates to consider, and it is telling that all of them rejected the "history club" model that the "lay low and maybe they won’t hurt us" SSCV wanted to supplant in place of the SCV’s traditional role of a Southern heritage organization.

General Stephen Dill Lee would be proud of how today’s Sons of Confederate Veterans are living up to the charge of vindicating the Cause for which our Confederate veterans fought. Those ideals for which they bled and died will indeed be perpetuated into the 21st century. Southerners can feel only the greatest pride for what was accomplished at Dalton. – MCT