Saturday, Feb 17, 2007

The sun finally broke through the clouds Saturday afternoon to warm those gathered for a memorial service honoring black Confederate veterans buried at Darlington Memorial Cemetery.

The event, in commemoration of Black History Month, was sponsored by Sons of Confederate Veterans members. The service represented the first annual memorial ceremony to honor a few of the many black Confederate soldiers known to have fought for the South during the Civil War.

The ceremony honored 16 black Confederate veterans from Darlington and Society Hill. Some of the veterans were identified from Confederate pension records dating from 1926.

Trip Wilson, commander of the W.E. James Camp 74, Sons of Confederate Veterans, in Darlington, said the honors were long overdue.

“Black Confederate veterans have long been overlooked because of the difficulty in identifying those who served,” he said. “I feel, however, there are many veterans that could be identified by family history if the word were to get out.”

Randall Burbage, commander of the South Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said Confederate heritage is something that cannot be bought or earned, but instead has been inherited through birthright.

“It’s something we should all be proud of,” he said. “My ancestor served in the 2nd South Carolina Cavalry, so I understand the sacrifice that these men made.”

Members of the Capt. Andrew T. Harllee Camp 2010 from Dillon concluded the ceremony by firing a salute in honor of the veterans.

“Our heritage, black and white, is intertwined,” said Theresa Pittman, president of the S.C. Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. “It has been since the founding of this country. It gives us the opportunity to see where we came from and where we’re going. Being a Confederate is something to be proud of. We honor these men because they are Confederate soldiers.”

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