Sen. Mullis explains his Confederate Heritage Month proposal

03/19/07
Sen. Jeff Mullis

Each year, during the 40-day legislative session, we introduce hundreds of pieces of legislation. Some of them get through the process and are debated by both houses of the legislature. Of those, many make it to the Governor’s desk for his signature, but some do not.

Some legislation is introduced for the greater good of our state, while other pieces will benefit a small minority or group. A bill I introduced earlier this month will designate the month of April each year as Confederate Heritage and History Month, and I must say I have gotten more press on this one piece of legislation than I have in my entire career at the Capitol.

I introduced this legislation at the request of John Culpepper, who is the commissioner of the Civil War Commission. He is a personal friend of mine, and I did it for him, his organization, and because I believe our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren need to know our history. I am a lover of history — all kinds, but especially Southern history.

My ancestors have lived in the Chickamauga area for generations. In fact some of my now-deceased relatives owned some of the land the Battle of Chickamauga was fought on over a two-day period in September 1863. They didn’t own a big, fine plantation — no, they were sharecroppers who barely scraped by. Nearly 35,000 Americans lost their lives there during that 48 hours. It was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

I want my children and their children to know where they came from. I want them to be aware of their history — both good and bad — so that they may learn from the good and not repeat the bad. George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

My legislation says simply that the month of April will be set aside to honor, observe and celebrate the Confederate States of America, its history, those who served in its armed forces and government, and all those millions of its citizens of various races and ethnic groups and religions who contributed to the cause of Southern independence.

I don’t know how long we have been doing it, but for many, many years, we have brought a resolution to the floor of the Senate and House each year to declare April as Confederate Heritage and History Month. I think it’s time we make it permanent.

This legislation is merely to honor those who came before us, those who fought and died for something they believed in and the men and women who, along with others, helped to make this nation great.

Call or come see me when you need me. State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, represents District 53, which includes all or parts of Walker, Dade, Chattooga and Catoosa counties. He can be reached at the Capitol at (404) 656-0057, at his district office at (706) 375-1776, or by e-mail at jeff.mullis@senate.ga.gov.

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