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The overall mission statement of this blog is to share many unique topics of this blogger's interest. Topics include (but are not limited to): Travel & Photojournalism, Nature & Wildlife Preservation, Americana, Local Places Of Interest, Southern Cultural Heritage, Local History of the South Carolina Upstate, Confederate Heritage Preservation & Awareness, Science & Science Fiction, Astronomy & Night Sky Photography, Literacy & Writing, Southern Cuisine, Popular Culture & Philosophy, Fandom, Local Folklore ....as well as various other topics explained from the blogger's point of view. The following website contains the UNCENSORED thoughts and opinions of a Southern-born country writer from upstate South Carolina - the living, beating heart of the great American Southland!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Raising A Large Dixie Cross On The Carolina Border

Saturday, February 18, 2017 was a fine day for a flag raising. It was also the day that I officially attended my very first giant Confederate battle flag raising.

The CSA Unknown Confederate Soldier Camp #1753 Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) of Lane's Creek, NC raised a 50 foot flagpole on HWY 601 at the NC-SC State line. A friend of mine informed me of the event via facebook and I was thankfully able to attend the ceremony.

That morning, I traveled from my home in Chester County east on SC HWY 9 to Chesterfield County, then north on HWY 601 to the North Carolina border and arrived at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church around 12:05 PM. 

As I arrived, my concerns that I should have worn by Confederate uniform for the occasion were quickly dispelled. The CSA Unknown Confederate Soldier Camp is a branch of the SCV Mechanized Cavalry -- members who are bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts. 

I have attended plenty of Confederate heritage rallies and memorial services with Mechanized Cavalry folks, all of which I have found to be outstanding men and women. They may not dress formally, but these people -- nearly all of which are US Veterans -- are strongly devoted toward honoring and preserving the memories of America's soldiers. I have yet to meet a member of the Mechanized Cavalry that I did not like.

If anything a slightly overweight, bald guy wearing camouflage pants, work boots, a Star Trek science officer blue t-shirt and a Confederate grey kepi was probably far more out of place than these great men and women; but regardless everyone there welcomed me and a few even knew who I was from facebook, or this blog. 

Also in attendance is a small group of living history reenactors. Members of the NC Artillery "Lathan's Battery" who were on hand to take an active part in the memorial service later on. 

For the next half hour before the service was to officially start, I met a few people I knew from facebook and other Confederate heritage and memorial services. I enjoyed the sight of so many diverse types of historical reproduction Confederate battle flags, Southern State flags, and various versions of the Dixie Cross on hand.  

CS Artillery Reenactors of the NC Artillery "Lathan's Battery"
practicing for the cannon salute after the flag raising.
Replicas of various Confederate battle flags and State flags on display.
The SCV camp colors of the CSA Unknown Soldier Camp #1753.

I also looked up at the top of the then bare 50 foot flagpole to see a truly wonderful sight: a gold-painted replica of the Southern Cross of Honor sat at the top in place of a round ball. 

The Southern Cross of Honor is normally a black, or painted, iron cross that is placed respectfully at the headstones of Confederate soldiers. These crosses are based on a medal given to the aged United Confederate Veterans after the War Between The States (American Civil War) by ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  

That beautiful gesture by the CSA Unknown Soldier Camp and its members serves as a reminder for those who understood it that that flag being raised was there to honor Confederate soldiers and their descendants who honorably remember them, and no other reason. 

I deeply respect these men and women and the other ladies and gentlemen of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and Order of the Confederate Rose for their efforts in preserving the memories of the Southern dead and defending their honor and that of the flags they fought under.

A Southern Cross of Honor sits at the very top of the 50 foot flag pole.
A powerful message recognizing that the flag that will be raised honors the South's Confederate dead.
Heritage & Honor.
Ran into a pair of friends from facebook: Miss Jenna Stoney from Florida and her service dog,
Shorty (aka Confederate Shorty).
Both Jenna and Shorty travel the Southland helping to clean the graves of the Confederate dead.
A truly remarkable lady with a beautiful soul that I am honored to call my friend and Southern sister.
Miss Jenna Stoney, Mr. John H. Ellis, & Shorty.
This couple was originally from New Jersey, now residents of the Carolinas.
An attendee carrying the battle flag of the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles,
CSA Trans-Mississippi Department. I always love seeing that flag.
The beautiful eyes of Electra, another beautiful and good-natured Southern dog in attendance.
Yep, that's yours truly, taking a close-up of an Order of the Confederate Rose decal.
Many members of that particular group were in attendance.

The ceremony began about 12:30 PM with the commander of the CSA Unknown Confederate Soldier Camp, Mr. Eddie Braswell, opening with a Christian prayer and then speaking. 

Commander Eddie Braswell, CSA Unknown Soldier Camp #1753,
opens the ceremony.
Mr. John H. Ellis, local historian & retired US Veteran gives the keynote speech.

Despite the cheers of the assembled crowd, Shorty managed to catch a quick snooze.

A few minutes before 1 PM, the assembled crowd of about 400 gathered near the flagpole. The members of the CSA Unknown Soldier Camp lined up for the passing of the flag from the hands of the camp commander down the line. The 8' X 8' CS Army of Northern Virginia patterned battle flag was then unfolded and attached to the pole. 

Cheers and rebel yells went out as the flag was slowly raised, catching in the Southern breeze. Then the flag reached the top of the flagpole, joining the Southern Cross of Honor at the top, Latham's Battery fired two shots from the cannon in memory of the Southern dead. The crowd sang "Dixie" after the second shot and the cannon crew turned and saluted the newly raised banner.

Members of the CSA Unknown Soldier Camp #1753
lined up for the passing of the flag.
Reenactors of Latham's Battery NC Artillery salute the new flag as the crowd sings Dixie.
Latham's Battery NC Artillery Reenactors.

Thanks to the amazing efforts of the members of the CSA Unknown Soldier Camp and other volunteers, a new beautiful Dixie Cross banner greets visitors at the Carolina line on Highway 601. 
A new Dixie Cross banner greets visitors traveling both ways on HWY 601.

Soon after the flag raising, it was time to pack up the flags and the cannon. People continued to stand around talking and enjoying the occasion to be sociable. As I took the last pictures, I also took the time to thank the members of the Mechanized Cavalry for their efforts in helping to honor our Confederate dead and Southern-Confederate historical heritage alive; and most especially for their own service as US Veterans.

Finally it was time for me to take the trip back home. The clear skies were giving way to grey skies -- almost like the hallowed gray uniform of the Confederate soldier. A fitting backdrop for the newly raised Dixie Cross blowing in the mid-winter southern breeze.

After biding a fond adeu to my fellow compatriots and friends, I went back to my car and took one last photo before heading back to Chester County and home.

I hope y'all enjoyed my post and photographs as always. I will end this blog post with a poem told at the end of the service before the flag raising. The poem was written by an unknown Confederate soldier near the end of the War Between the States, possibly in the trenches of Petersburg, Virginia in late 1864 or early 1865. 

A Confederate Soldier's Prayer

Author Unknown 

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given live, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.  

God Bless The South & God Bless America!
Deo Vindice!

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