From: Bill Fowler


I wanted to take a moment to tell you why I joined the Sons of Confederate Veterans. I joined this organization in order to awaken something that I felt was merely laying dormant. I did not join to be in perpetual mourning over something that had died, decayed and turned to dust. I did not join to be a pallbearer for the deceased or to grieve over the tombs of the all but forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, a time of solemn remembrance has its place. But for it to be a solitary or even a primary focus is not only melancholy, it is down right morbid.

So, I do hereby state that I will no longer participate in any cemetery services, other than those of a passing compatriot. After almost ten years of hanging out in graveyards, I feel that I have done my part in this regard and it is time to put my time and energy into the realm of the living.

I have begun to sincerely believe that there are many in this organization who wish to be the among the last people on Earth to identify themselves with the Confederacy. If they successfully reach out to and recruit younger people, then they can not die with the distinction of having been the last in line. In addition, younger people with their abundance of energy and new ideas may eclipse them and vanquish them into obscurity. Then they may not be able to attend the conventions and receive medals for putting flowers next to headstones. It might also disrupt their tightly woven little clique and they will lose their cherished positions of authority, however lame and ineffectual they may be. Where then will they go to escape from their wives and not get into any trouble?

If your greatest aspiration is to be a crypt keeper, then I say more power to you! Just don’t expect that I am going to mope around like some defeated palooka saying, "We coulda’ been a contender." No, I am looking forward from this point on. What good does it do to pay respects to a man while you do nothing to influence his great grandson who comes home from school with his cap on sideways and his pants falling off, talking like he’s from Compton and making fun of his Southern ancestors?

If you can look the other way while your grandsons and granddaughters, your nieces and nephews and even your own children idolize and seek to imitate Marilyn Manson and Snoop Doggy Dogg… If you can disregard their scoffing at men like Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis… Then I ask, what sort of Compatriot are you? Why did you join the S. C. V.? Were you bored? Did you just want to get out of the house and away from your wife and kids for a few hours? Is that why you never bring them to the meetings with you? Does the token gesture made at the cemetery somehow alleviate the guilt that you feel for being completely incapable of persuading your family to join us in this fight? Do you feel that it takes away the burden of having to confront our adversaries? After all, it is a nice, non-threatening activity. The cemeteries are usually somewhat isolated and a ways off the road and are often partially hidden by trees and shrubbery. Your friends and neighbors aren’t likely to see you there and even if they do, well, you’re only fiddling around in a cemetery, what harm could there be in that? Even the Southern Poverty Law Center agrees, saying that remembrance ceremonies are the true purpose of our organization and that the members who want to do something besides clean cemeteries are radicals.

Well, if that’s true, then you can surely count me among the radicals. At this point I want to do anything other than go to a cemetery or a stuffy formal ball. That’s another thing. We’re always talking about how the majority of Southerners did not have large plantations and how few of them owned slaves. Yet, we always seem to cultivate the image of wealthy. I would think that barn dances and hootenannies were just as, if not more, common than fancy soirees at elegant manors. Celebrations by the working class would have certainly lacked the refinement of the parties thrown by the well-to-do, but were probably more lively and, I suspect, more fun.

So, make of it what you will. If you think that I am failing to carry out the charge by not going to cemeteries, that’s fine. I have my own ideas about what the charge requires of us and I frequently feel that many in this organization are not willing to do what is necessary to fulfill those obligations.



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