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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Confederate Memorial Day 2015 In Columbia, South Carolina

On Saturday, May 2nd of this year, I attended the annual South Carolina Confederate Memorial Day Service in State capitol of Columbia.

Confederate Memorial Day is celebrated in the Southern States of the United States of America on various dates between April and June with hundreds of individual ceremonies at various Confederate monuments and grave sites. These ceremonies typically include people in 19th century period dress and the laying of flowers, wreaths, and various Confederate flags at graves and monuments. 

Confederate Memorial Day is officially recognized as a State Holiday in both South Carolina and North Carolina on the 10th of May. Historically, it marks both the death of Confederate Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson in 1863, and the capture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in 1865.

The Confederate Memorial Day service is celebrated in Columbia annually on the first Saturday of the month of May. This service consists of a morning grave side memorial service sponsored by the South Carolina Division United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) at historic Elmwood Cemetery near the Confederate graves section. This is followed by a 3-mile memorial parade and march from Elmwood Cemetery to the South Carolina State Capitol, and another service sponsored by the South Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) by the Confederate Soldiers' Monument.

My attendance marked the 15th year in a row, one for every year I have been a member of the SCV. I am proud to say that the service was a good one, the weather was lovely and not as hot as previous years. Those who witnessed the services and parade were positive and showed respect and curiosity. After the services many who witnessed came over and asked us about the service and why we do it. I believe most went away with a positive point of view. US Veterans in particular showed every respect to those in attendance and honored the Confederate soldier.

While Confederate Memorial Day allows Confederate descendants to gather and celebrate that unique and mutual aspect of our Southern heritage, first and foremost it is a celebration of the individual lives of the Confederate citizen soldier and the memory of his sacrifice during the four years of the War Between The States (American Civil War) 1861 - 1865.

The following are photos I took of the event.

Arrival At Elmwood Cemetery, Columbia, SC.
Wreath To Be Presented At The Confederate Soldiers' Monument Following The Parade.
Confederate Memorial Dogwood Tree With Marker. (I was honored to be there the day it was planted!)
Confederate Soldier's Section, Elmwood Cemetery.
Marker For Confederate Soldiers Buried In Unmarked And Unknown Graves In Elmwood Cemetery. 
Confederate Graves Section In Elmwood Cemetery With Monument.
Far Too Many Of These Men and Boys Who Wore The Gray And Butternut Uniform Are Known Only To God. How Many Fathers, Sons, Brothers, & Husbands Never Went Home? Too Damn Many. Above All Things, These People And The Celebration Of Their Lives Is What Confederate Memorial Day Represents In South Carolina.

Monuments To Aged Confederate Soldiers Who Died At The Old Confederate Soldiers' Home.
The Graves Of Union Soldiers Stand Before The Confederate Section Of Elmwood Cemetery. Most Of These Union Men Died During The Reconstruction Era (1867 - 1875) And Were Buried Here By The Occupiers As A Way Of Reinforcing The View That South Carolina Was A Permanent Member Of The Union To The Local Population. Regardless Of Why They Were Put There, They Were Doing Their Duty As American Soldiers As They Saw It. The SC United Daughters Of The Confederacy (UDC) Place US Flags At The Graves Every Year To Honor These Brave Northern Men And Boys As Equals To Our Honored Confederate Dead And As Fellow Americans.
More Union Graves.
Confederate Grave With First Confederate National "Stars And Bars" Flag.
Artillery Reenactors Preparing For Cannon Salute At End Of The Memorial Service.
Gentlemen Of The SC Division Sons Of Confederate Veterans (SCV).
Ladies Of The SC Division United Daughters Of The Confederacy (UDC).
A Confederate "widow" Dressed In 19th Century Period Mourning Attire.
Wreath For The Honored Dead.
Speakers For The SC Division United Daughters Of The Confederacy, The Sons Of Confederate Veterans, Children Of The Confederacy, The Military Order Of The Stars And Bars, And The South Carolina Palmetto Battalion.
A Local Group Played Music For The Elmwod Memorial Service.
Members Of The SC Division Sons Of Confederate Veterans Posing With Camp Colors.
The Members of the Palmetto Battalion Reenactors Marching Into The Cemetery.
Members of Wade Hampton's CSA Cavalry Reenactors With Their Mounts.
The Palmetto Battalion Reenactors At Their Post.
The Posting Of The Colors In Front Of The Memorial Arch.
The Confederate Banners.
The Ceremony Begins With The Pledge Of Allegiance To The US Flag, The South Carolina State Flag, And The Confederate (First National) Flag. 
"Widow" Reenactor With Parasol.
Another Confederate "Widow" With Veil. 

The Speakers Talking About Confederate Memorial Day And The Legacy Of The Confederate Soldier.
Partial Shot Of The Crowd That Gathered For The Memorial Service. Overall Attendance Was Around 430 People For The Elmwood Service Including The Re-enactors.
Laying Of The Wreath #1.
Laying Of The Wreath #2.
Laying Of The Wreath #3.
Laying Of The Wreath #4.
Musket Salute For The Honored Confederate Dead.
Taps Was Played Following The Musket Volleys.
Members Of The 16th South Carolina Color Guard.
Confederate Naval Reenactor.

Gathering For The Parade From Elmwood Cemetery To The South Carolina Statehouse.
A Nearly Three Mile March.
The Three Mile Parade Ends Comes To A Conclusion At The South Carolina Statehouse Where The SCV Service Will Take Place.
Parade Marchers And SCV Service Attendees Greet One Another On the South Side Of The South Carolina State Capitol Grounds.
A Lovely Southern Lady By The Old Soldiers' Monument.
UDC Wreath Carried In The Parade Set By The Confederate Soldiers' Monument.
Inscription On The Confederate Soldiers' Monument.
Dixie Cross Battle Flag Flying At The Soldiers' Monument In Honor The Memories Of Over 26,600 Known South Carolina Men And Boys Who Died In Defense Of Southern Independence And Home. (*On July 10th Of This Year The Flag Was Lowered And The Pole Removed Because Of Politically Correct Cowardice In Response To The Obscene Act Of Domestic Terrorism In Charleston, SC on June 17, 2015.)
Posting Of The Colors.
Palmetto Battalion Reenactors At The Statehouse Service.
Pledges Taken To The Flags Of the United States Of America, The South Carolina State Flag, And The Confederate Battle Flag.
Stacking Arms.
Stacking Of The Palmetto Battalion Colors.
Arms Under Guard.
South Carolina Division SCV Guardians Given Their Pins & Certificates. 
Guardians Are Members Of The SCV Who Dedicate Time To Clean And Take Care Of Confederate Grave Sites And Markers.
Confederate Cannons Firing Salute Not Far Away.
Ready....Aim....FIRE!
Present Arms!
"This Way To The Capitol Steps!"
Pee Dee Rifles Camp Colors Being Posed At The Confederate Soldiers' Monument.
SCV Members And Guests Posing With The Large Confederate Banner.
Finally, Yours Truly Standing On The South Carolina Statehouse Steps With The Large Dixie Cross Banner.

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