Mission Of This Blog

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!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Tragic Story of the Flat Rock Seven

At Flat Rock Cemetery in Mount Holly, North Carolina there are seven Southern Crosses of Honor and four grave stones honoring the memories of seven Confederate soldiers from Cleveland and Rutherford Counties in North Carolina. 

These men were returning home from the War following the surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse on Sunday, April 9, 1865. They fought for years in the war at places like Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness & Spottsylvania Campaign, and the Siege of Petersburg, and survived only to tragically drown mere miles from their homes and families.

As the local story goes, when these seven former Johnny Rebs reached the Mecklenburg County side of the Catawba River they discovered that none of the ferries were operating due to the extremely high war and turbulence due to rainstorms. Such was their haste to return home to their families they failed to wait for the water to calm down and hired a local boy and his fishing boat to ferry them across. The boat was either swamped by floating debris, or capsized because of the overcrowding, sending everyone into the torrential waters. 

Of the seven men, only one -- Private Ancil Dycus -- was able to reach shore. But one of the other men in the water was a relative -- Private Joseph Dycus -- and he went back in to try to save his kinsmen, and the others. Sadly he too drowned while attempting to rescue them. 

It is believed that the men were buried in Gaston County near the site were they drowned. No evidence can be found to determine the exact location. These veterans grave makers and Southern Crosses of Honor have been erected to preserve their everlasting memories for future generations. 

Grave markers and Confederate Iron Crosses honoring seven
Confederate soldiers who died returning home from the War
This memorial stone set at the foot of the markers and crosses
tells in brief the story of the tragedy end of these seven lives.
Corporal Drury Dobbins Price
Co. F 34th NC Infantry CSA.
Private Ancil Newton Dycus
Co. B 34th NC Infantry CSA.
Private Joseph J. Dycus
Co. D 2nd NC Junior Reserves CSA
Private James Blanton
Co. B 34th NC Infantry CSA.
A. Greene -- Confederate States Of America. RIP.
John Greene -- Confederate States of America. RIP.
John B. Owens -- Confederate States of America. RIP.

Flat Rock Cemetery -- named for a large flat rock adjacent to the cemetery --
is located on North Main Street (HWY 273) in Mount Holly, North Carolina.

"The righteous perish,
and no one ponders it in his heart;
devout men are taken away,
and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
to be spared from evil.

Those who walk uprightly
enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death.

~ Isaiah 57:1-2 (NIV)

Deo Vindice!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Georgia Volunteer

Dedicated to the everlasting memories of all those
Known But To God

who wore the hallowed gray and butternut uniforms of Dixie.

A Georgia Volunteer

Far up the lonely mountain-side
My wandering footsteps led;
The moss lay thick beneath my feet,
The pine sighed overhead. 
The trace of a dismantled fort
Lay in the forest nave,
And in the shadow near my path
I saw a soldier's grave.

The bramble wrestled with the weed
Upon the lowly mound;
The simple head-board, rudely writ,
Had rotted to the ground;
I raised it with a reverent hand,
From dust its words to clear,
But time had blotted all but these--
"A Georgia Volunteer!"

I saw the toad and scaly snake
From tangled covert start, 
And hide themselves among the weeds
Above the dead man's heart;
But undisturbed, in sleep profound,
Unheeding, there he lay;
His coffin but the mountain soil,
His shroud Confederate gray.

I heard the Shenandoah roll
Along the vale below,
I saw the Alleghanies rise
Toward the realms of snow.
The 'Valley Campaign' rose to mind-
Its leader's name-and then
 I knew the sleeper had been one
Of Stonewall Jackson's men.

Yet whence he came, what lip shall say-
Whose tongue will ever tell
What desolated hearths and hearts
Have been because he fell?
What sad-eyed maiden braids her hair,
Her hair which he held dead?
One lock of which perchance lies with
The Georgia Volunteer!

What mother, with long watching eyes,
And white lips, cold and dumb,
Waits with appalling patience for 
Her darling boy to come?
Her boy! whose mountains grave swells up
But one of many a scar,
Cut on the face of our fair land,
By gory-handed war. 

What fights he fought, what wounds he wore,
Are all unknown to fame;
Remember, on his holy grave
There is not e'en a name!
That he fought well and bravely too,
And held his country dear,
We know, else he had never been
A Georgia volunteer. 

He sleeps-what need to question now
If he were wrong or right?
He knows, ere this, whose cause was just
In God the Father's sight. 
He wields no warlike weapons now,
returns no foeman's thrust-
Who but a coward would revile 
An honest soldier's dust?

Roll, Shenandoah, proudly roll,
Adown thy rocky glen,
Above thee lies the grave of one 
Of Stonewall Jackson's men.
Beneath the cedar and the pine,
In solitude austere.
Unknown, unnamed, forgotten, lies
A Georgia Volunteer!

This poem was written not long after the war’s end by Miss Mary Ashley Townsend, a northern-born American poet living in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Miss Mary Ashley Townsend (1832 - 1901)

A Georgia Volunteer reflects another sad and tragic reality of the aftermath of the War Between The States (1861-1865). Far far too many young soldiers are buried today in Unknown graves across the United States, especially in the American Southland. In those graves lie the remains of someone's son, brother, husband, or sweetheart who died and never returned home. Someone who had loved ones who never knew the ultimate fate of their beloved child, sibling, or lover.  

It is in that memory of those who never returned home -- at least in this world -- that this blogger dedicates this post.

Y'all are not forgotten!

Deo Vindice! 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Anthropology Professor Makes Wrong Conclusions About The Confederate Flag -- But This Blogger Sets It Straight

Greeting my friends and fellow travelers!

On Sunday, April 23rd, a somewhat preachy and pretentious article appeared in The (Durham County, NC) Herald Sun written by Elon University Professor of Anthropology Tom Mould. 

The article, ironically titled: "In debating the Confederate flag, we're asking the wrong questions" Professor Mould continues to not only ask the wrong questions himself, but fills his arguments with factual errors as well as the usual logical fallacies that social "just us" regressives continue to use over and over ad nauseum. Clearly the subject over the so-called debate about the Confederate flag is not among his areas of expertise, as you will see. 

Luckily, this blogger is here to offer the proper corrections and the factual details that the dear professor either was ignorant of, or simply refused to add for fear of destroying his somewhat pretentious argument. 

As always this blogger's point-by-point response to this article will appear in Confederate Red


In debating the Confederate flag, we're asking the wrong questions – Tom Mould
In responding to this debate, I will endeavor to set the record straight -- C.W. Roden: The Man Deniers Fear The Most

Read more here: http://www.heraldsun.com/opinion/article145536169.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The People's Free Library of South Carolina -- A Historic Landmark

The People's Free Library of South Carolina.

One of the most interesting landmarks in Chester County can be found a few miles from my home in Lowrys, South Carolina. 

The People's Free Library of South Carolina was built in 1903 by a seasonal visitor to the area, Dr. Delano Fitzgerald, a Baltimore pharmacist, who frequented Chester County during the winter months in order to capitalize on the area's rich hunting grounds. Dr. Fitzgerald wished to contribute something meaningful to the town where he spent many pleasant winter months and the local people of the community who showed him such respect and hospitality. 

When Dr. Fitzgerald expressed interest in establishing a library in the community, a local resident, Mr. J.S. Guy donated a lot for its construction. He opened the library in 1904, which became the first free library in Chester County. 

The small, single room building was built and furnished completely with tables, chairs, a wood stove, and book shelves complete with a collection of approximately 1,381 books and works of popular literature for the time. Dr. Fitzgerald himself employed a year-round library staff of three trustees, supplied leading magazine periodicals, and bore all the expenses of the small library's operation. 

To make the books more widely available to people in the county, ten wooden book boxes were constructed which held several dozen books, which were distributed by a horse or mule-drawn wagon once a month to local homes and schools in York and Chester Counties between 1904 - 1909. This early rural "traveling library service" was one of the first bookmobile-type systems in the country. 

The People's Free Library continued to make a significant contribution to the cultural and intellectual development of Lowrys and the surrounding areas from between 1904 - 1954 and continues to serve as a museum and community landmark. 

Today five of the original book boxes remain in the building itself, four are displayed in the Chester County Library, and one is kept in the South Carolina State Library in Columbia.  

The library closed in 1924, but reopened in 1932 as a branch of the Chester County Library system. It would close again permanently as a library in 1954. The building was then donated to the nearby Zion Presbyterian Church, which restored it in 1976 and keeps the small building in good repair as a museum, though it is not open to the public.

The People's Free Library of South Carolina was officially listed on the National Registry of Historic Places on October 29, 1982.

The People's Free Library sits on the property adjacent to the
Zion Presbyterian Church in Lowrys, SC.
The historic building as seen from the front.
The interior photo of the building taken from the front left window.

The registration form for the National Registry of Historic Places submitted to the US Department of the Interior can be seen HERE

I hope y'all enjoyed this story about this important cultural landmark in my home county. 

As always y'all have a great Dixie day!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Union Soldier's Graves in Rose Hill Cemetery

The entrance to Rose Hill Cemetery in downtown York, SC.

Located in the Southeastern corner of Rose Hill Cemetery in downtown York, South Carolina, are eight graves that seem to be noticeably set apart from the others beneath a tall tree. Its as if the occupants of those graves were buried away from the rest due to some religious objection, or were the victims of some vile and incurable 19th century disease. 

These eight lonely graves belong to Union soldiers. Members of two units of US troops who occupied York County and the surrounding area during the Reconstruction Era (1865 - 1877) who died during that time due to illness, or possibly violence from local resistance to federal enforcement of Radical Reconstruction policies that barred ex-Confederates from voting, holding office, or meeting in groups -- including funerals and church services -- without federal soldiers present.

Eight Union soldiers, members of the local occupation forces
who died during the Reconstruction Era.

No matter their reason for being in York County at that particular time, these eight men sadly died in another State far from their homes and families who never saw them again. No matter if they are a Confederate soldier from Georgia buried in Pennsylvania, or a young Union man from Maine who died of pneumonia in South Carolina. They deserve to be remembered and respected for their individual lives as any other American veteran of the War Between the States (1861 - 1865) who fell far from home. 

For that reason this blogger honors them by placing the flags they served under at their graves and present to you readers the names of these Union soldiers. 

Private Thos Quinton
Co. C 18th US Infantry
Private G.H. Whitemore
Co. L 7th US Cavalry
Private Samuel Brown
Co. L 7th US Cavalry
Private Patrick Walsh
Co. C 18th US Infantry
Private Adolphus Cash
Co. D 7th US Cavalry
Private G.W. Windsor
Co. C 18th US Infantry
Private Jno Shea
Co. C 18th US Infantry
Sergeant Patrick Garr
Co. C 18th US Infantry

 We've been fighting today on the old camp ground,
Many are lying near;
Some are dead, and some are dying,
Many are in tears.

Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease; 
Many are the hearts look for the right, 
To see the dawn of peace. 

A popular Union Civil War song.

As always I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Have a good Dixie day, y'all!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Planetary Photography - 04-11-2017 - Full Moon, Jupiter & Spica In Eastern Sky

As I mentioned in my last blog post, the first full moon of spring 2017 celebrated the change of seasons by pairing up with our solar system's largest neighbor, Jupiter, after it rose in the eastern sky. 

Tonight I was able to get a really good shot of the full moon with Jupiter moving farther away. Luna was in turn joined by Spica, the brightest star of the constellation Virgo, and the 16th brightest star in the night sky. 

Jupiter will remain in the vicinity of Spica for much of 2017. 

Once again I hope you enjoyed my planetary photography and, as always, keep looking to the skies.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Planetary Photography - 04-10-2017 - Easter Full Moon & Jupiter

Tonight and tomorrow -- April 10th & 11th -- the first full moon of spring 2017 arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, the same evening the first day of the Jewish holiday Passover. Tonight's full moon also comes the week before Easter Sunday on April 16, 2017. 

In the Northern Hemisphere, we have several names for the first full moon of springtime: the Pink Moon (named after celebrating the return of certain species of wild flowers), the Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon, or the Easter Moon. 

Joining Luna in her full glory on the night of April 10th is Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, appearing as a very bright star in just to the right of the first springtime full moon. 

I took the following photos just as Luna and Jupiter rose above the treetops. The first two were through the branches of a tree. The third in the clearing, and the fourth a close up.

I hope y'all enjoyed my planetary photographs. Have a good evening and, as always, keep your eyes to the skies.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Conquered Banner

Furling The Flag (1871) by Austrian artist Richard Norris Brooke.

The Conquered Banner

 By Father Abram Joseph Ryan

Furl that Banner, for 'tis weary;
Round its staff 'tis drooping dreary;
Furl it, fold it--it is best; 

For there's not a man to wave it, 
And there's not a sword to save it,
And there's not one left to lave it
In the blood which heroes gave it; 
And its foes now scorn and brave it;
Furl it, hide it---let it rest!

Take that banner down! 'tis tattered;
Broken is its staff and shattered;
And the valiant hosts are scattered, 
Over whom it floated high.
Oh, 'tis hard for us to fold it,
Hard to think there's none to hold it,
Hard that those who once unrolled it
Must now furl it with a sigh!

Furl that banner--furl it sadly;
Once ten thousands hailed it gladly,
And ten thousands wildly, madly, 
Swore it would forever wave --
Swore that foeman's sword should never
Hearts like theirs entwined dissever, 
Till that flag should float forever
O'er their freedom or their grave!

Furl it! for the hands that grasped it, 
And the hearts that fondly clasped it,
Cold and dead are lying low;
And that Banner--it is trailing,
While around it sounds the wailing
Of its people in their woe.

For though conquered, they adore it--
Love the cold, dead hands that bore it!
Weep for those who fell before it!
Pardon those who trailed and tore it!
But, oh, wildly they deplore it,
Now who furl and fold it so!

Furl that Banner! True, 'tis gory, 
Yet 'tis wreathed around with glory,
And 'twill live in song and story
Though its folds are in the dust!
For its fame on brightest pages,
Penned by poets and by sages, 
Shall go sounding down the ages--
Furl its folds though now we must. 

Furl that Banner, softly, slowly; 
Treat it gently--it is holy, 
For it droops above the dead;
Tough it not--unfolded it never,  
let it droop there, furled forever,
For its people's hopes are fled.

This poem was first published by Father Abraham Joseph Ryan, "Poet-Priest of the South" in the New York Freeman, a pro-Confederate Roman Catholic newspaper on Saturday, June 24, 1865, two months after the surrenders of Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and Johnston's Confederate Army of Tennessee in April of the same year. The poem was later published in the first issue of the Confederate Veteran in 1893. 

The Conquered Banner became one of the best known poems of the post-war American Southland, and was memorized and recited by at least two generations of Southern schoolchildren during the height of its popularity between 1890 - 1920. 

When he wrote The Conquered Banner, Father Ryan, like many Confederate officers -- including General Robert E. Lee -- believed that no matter how noble the defense of Southern independence and revered the Confederate cause had been, the South's defeat in April of 1865 meant the final defeat of the Confederate government. Father Ryan's poem is largely a memorial to the fallen Confederate soldier and his defeated cause of self-determination.

Some modern-day historians argue that this also meant that his symbolic view that the Confederate flag be "furled forever" alluded to the belief that the battle flag of the Confederate soldier has no more use in modern society. 

The counter-argument to this logic could reasonably be made that Father Ryan did not specify in The Conquered Banner exactly which Confederate flag was referenced. Most images associated with this poem show the Confederate 2nd National colors "The Stainless Banner" rather than the square battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, or the rectangular battle flag of the Army of Tennessee used in the later half of the War Between the States.  

Popular cover for The Conquered Banner (1865)
depicting the tattered Confederate 2nd National Flag
"Stainless Banner" (May 1863 - March 1865).

The fact that Father Ryan himself continued to show reverence for the fallen Confederate soldier (his own brother had been killed wearing the Confederate gray) and the soldier's flag through his poetry long after the War also disproves the narrative of modern-day historians that Ryan wanted the Confederate battle flag to remain forever furled. 

The Conquered Banner also inspired a  British poet and Confederate sympathizer, Sir Henry Houghton (1809 - 1885), to pen A Reply to the Conquered Banner feeling that Father Ryan's poem was too defeatist. This is the full text of that poem and its message to the war ravaged Southland: 

Gallant nation, foiled by numbers! 
Say not that your hopes are fled;
Keep that glorious flag which slumbers,
One day to avenge your dead.
Keep it, widowed, sonless mothers!
Keep it, sisters, mourning brothers!
Furl it now, but keep it still--
Think not that its work is done.
Keep it till your children take it,
Once again to hall and make it,
All their sires have bled and fought for;
All their noble hearts have sought for--
Bled and fought for all alone!
All alone! ay, shame the story!
Millions here deplore the stain;
Shame, alas! for England's glory,
Freedom called, and called in vain!
Furl that banner, sadly, slowly,
Treat it gently, for 'tis holy;
Till that day--yes, furl it sadly;
Then once more unfurl it gladly--
Conquered banner! keep it still!

The Conquered Banner was especially popular in Dixie at the turn of the century when the US government formally returned the captured and surrendered battle flags to the Southern States in 1905, and at reunions of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) where Confederate battle flags flew, or were displayed respectfully alongside the flag of the United States of America with dueling but equal sense of patriotism for country and for the Southland of their birth. 

"GATHER the sacred dust of the warriors tried and true, 
Who bore the flag of our People's trust
And fell in a cause, though lost still just
And died for me and you."
~Father Abram Joseph Ryan
(February 5, 1838 – April 22, 1886)

Deo Vindice!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

April 6th Is National Tartan Day in the United States

April 6th is designated annually as National Tartan Day in the United States and recognizes the achievements of Americans of Scottish descent. 

It commemorates the date of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath -- Scotland's Declaration of Independence -- on Sunday, April 6, 1320. The American Declaration of Independence, signed on Thursday, July 4, 1776, is said to have been modeled after the Scottish Declaration. Over half the signers of the American Declaration of Independence were of Scottish, or Ulster-Scots descent. 

National Tartan Day parades occur in major US cities, featuring bagpipe and drum bands playing Scottish music. Tartan clothing and kilts representing Scottish clans, or more modern patterns listed in the current Scottish Registry of Tartans,  are often worn by Americans of Scottish genealogy taking part in activities on this day. Groups such as the American Scottish Foundation organize these events along with special annual awards. 

Americans of Scottish descent have played an influential role in the founding and development of the United States and its cultural heritage. This fact was widely recognized on March 20, 1998 when the US Senate passed Senate bill No. 155 officially recognizing National tartan Day as a day for all Americans -- particularly those of Scottish descent -- every April 6th of the year. 

Senate resolution 155 officially declaring April 6th as
National Tartan Day annually in the United States of America (USA).


Y'all have a Happy National Tartan Day today!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Shattering The So-Called Reality Of A Self-Hating Confederate Descendant

Greetings and salutations my fellow travelers!

I know it has been a few weeks since my last post. Much has happened in those couple weeks with me -- including several interesting local events and stories I am planning to share with y'all as this week progresses. 

Meanwhile, for your entertainment and continued education on the defense of Southern-Confederate historical heritage and what it means to those who support it, this blogger has another anti-Confederate heritage regressive -- and another alleged "proud Southerner" -- who claims that you don't need to "pretend to believe" that if you had a Confederate ancestor that they were good people. 
This individual wrote an article recently on the subject of a Confederate Flag Day rally in Oklahoma, which yours truly will go through point by tedious point, correcting the assumptions and misinformation posing as a valid argument from another hater. 

By now many of y'all know that I will post in entirety the article, with my responses and comments posted in red. 
So without further ado, let's go ahead and see what the snowflake army -- self-hating Confederate descendant brigade -- has sent for our entertainment today. Enjoy.   

Confederate flag rally touts heritage, ignores reality
Also known as: how The Man Deniers Fear The Most completely destroys the nonsensical rantings of yet another virtue signaling snowflake.

A Confederate flag rally Saturday, March 4, in Shawnee drew protesters.
(Michael Duncan - Edited by The Man Deniers Fear The Most)

SHAWNEE, Oklahoma — I have more than a half-dozen direct ancestors who lived in Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi and fought for the South. I only have the one I am aware of, though I am certain there are more -- and a few possible Unionists too. As I listened to speeches during a Confederate flag rally Saturday in Shawnee, I wondered if my claim to being a Son of the Confederacy might be far greater than any of the members present that day. Humm, not really sure I can answer that one, cupcake. I mean, I never thought of myself as better or "more Southern" than those who claim no Confederate ancestry. Then again that is probably just me.
Nevertheless, I had come because I wondered why, in the year 2017, was a “Rally for the Confederate Flag” being held in a small central-Oklahoma town? 
You know folks, it has always been a curious thing for me why anti-Confederate heritage reactionaries feel the need to point out the current year as if it means anything in this sort of situation. I mean just last year in Great Britain a large group of re-enactors portraying British World War One era soldiers staged a massive "living memorial" campaign on the anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme honoring the British soldiers who died. What did the fact it was 2016 at the time have to do with the cup of tea?
Oklahoma wasn’t even a state in the 1860s. Technically it was Indian Nations Territory -- of which five tribes were allied to the CSA. There hasn’t been some hue and cry to save the Confederate flag here. It hasn’t been a public issue of note, unless the Confederate battle flag was somehow appended to that Ten Commandments monument bill when I wasn’t looking.
Put simply, the Confederate flag has not been a political issue the same way it has been across true Southern states.
Still, as I walked from my car down into Woodland Veterans Park, I saw about 100 people in attendance and a dozen or more large Confederate flags blowing in the breeze. Several smaller flags came into view as I got closer.
These people seemed to know why they were here. Yes, they did. You apparently didn't and go on to prove how clueless you truly are of those reasons.

‘Deo Vindice’

At the edge of the park, about a dozen black-uniformed policemen gathered around their supervising officer, no doubt planning their strategy in case something went wrong. The typical implication of impending violence, nice. Other officers I recognized as Pottawatomie County sheriff’s deputies posted up at other corners of the park but well back from the crowd.
A nearly equal number of patch- and leather-clad bikers — members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Mechanized Cavalry — stood at the back of the gathered crowd, which faced a podium and portable sound system. Only the bandannas outnumbered the beards. Emblazoned on some of their leather jackets were the words, Deo Vindice — a Latin phrase meaning, “With God as our protector.” It was the official motto of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
Nearer to the podium were more elderly couples sitting in lawn chairs. To the side, at attention, stood a color guard dressed in Civil War gray and armed with bayoneted Enfield muskets of the time. I think I recognized some of them from the last Civil War battle re-enactment I attended at Yale. Civil War re-enactments at Yale? Humm....

‘We are here to vindicate our ancestors’

Confederate flag rally
Sons of Confederate Veterans official Rex Cash speaks to about 100 attending the rally at Woodland Veterans Park in Shawnee on Saturday, March 4. (Michael Duncan)

Rex Cash, the Lt. Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Oklahoma Division, hosted the rally. He summed up his rally’s goal rather simply: vindicating Civil War-era ancestors who fought for the South. He said the Confederate battle flag was not a political statement — it was a battle flag that represented those who served under it. The audience then learned of Cash’s family genealogy, which included several ancestors who fought for the Confederacy.
“It is personal to me,” Cash said. “We are here to vindicate our ancestors, who fought with honor and courage.”
In his view, the flag was another image of his family ancestors, and he said that is what opponents of the Confederate flag don’t get. And he would be largely correct.
Cash took great pains to refute any notion that either he or his organization endorsed any racism or hatred. Cash said his organization was offended by racist groups “hijacking” the Confederate battle flag. As do I and frequently speak out against such hijacking....and on one occasion did much more than just speak out.
“I don’t like being called a racist or white supremacist. And neither do you!” Cash shouted to the crowd. That drew but a mild applause, which made me wonder if perhaps a few in his midst might render such labels appropriate. Wow, do you truly believe you are being serious with that statement? Everyone in that crowd would believe those words go without saying.
Cash made the argument that the Ku Klux Klan had not taken on the Confederate battle flag as their symbol until the 1950s, long after the majority of lynchings had taken place. Which is largely true. So, don’t blame the flag, he said. He criticized Oklahoma Baptist University for recently removing the Confederate flag from a display on its Shawnee campus.
“This is what happens when there is boring predictability,” Cash said. “Principle and fact are sacrificed for the idol of political correctness.” Again, Mr. Cash would be correct in his statements.

History often debated

I was puzzled by the need to defend one’s ancestors who fought for the South in the Civil War — as if our ancestors’ participation somehow taints our existence today — unless we can establish that the soldiers’ conduct 150 years ago was honorable. I for one do not believe that the question of their service being honorable is a matter of debate. What we defend our ancestors against is modern-day slander and personal attacks because as their descendants we have an obligation to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Plus you mess with one member of my family -- even a long dead one -- you mess with me.
Cash correctly pointed out that it was not a Confederate Supreme Court that ruled in 1857 that blacks were not citizens nor which later upheld Jim Crow laws. It was the U.S. Supreme Court that did that under the U.S. flag. Of course, the Confederate Supreme Court did not last long enough to entertain such issues. For all your research and attempt to show off your alleged wealth of knowledge earlier -- despite the mistake about the Indian Nation's Territory during the war -- you show you know little. There was no established Confederate States Supreme Court and the CSA did not survive long enough to establish one.
Regardless, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to understand his point that one should not “punish” a flag for misdeeds, or whether I should believe that, had Abraham Lincoln left the South alone, the Confederate States of America would have evolved into a shining example of human rights and enlightenment, surpassing any corrupt government offered by the United States of America. Well, since the CSA did not live long enough to evolve as a nation we shall never really know the answer to that one. That is unless someone can open up a portal to the multiverse and find the parallel universes were such an event happened -- if you believe in the multiverse theory that is.
Cash’s speech eventually turned on Lincoln as some diabolical oppressor who planned all along to “invade another country.” (I suppose Cash believes secession was legal, and the South was another country.) Technically the former was never established as "illegal" until 1869 under the US Supreme Court case Brown Vs. Texas, and the latter can be widely debated. There was no mention of Fort Sumter, where Confederate artillery fired the first shots against a Union garrison to start the war. (Sighs) I suppose you wish he'd gone into the entire history of the War itself then?
Cash said the Civil War wasn’t about slavery at all. He said it was about government overreach and the North taking advantage of the South. He said to look at Lincoln’s inaugural speech of 1861. So, I did. It turns out Lincoln spent much time talking about slavery in that speech and whether the states could decide the issue themselves. He specifically promised not to invade the South.
(Well, he said there would be no “lawless” invasion, anyway.) And from a certain point of view, he lied about that one. Then again the legality of secession and the constitutional legality of a US President using US soldiers to invade "his own country" is another matter of debate that I doubt we could settle in one setting. 

‘I take it personal’

One of the speakers in the park was Arlene Barnum, a black woman from Oklahoma who has traveled the South to campaign against removing Confederate flags and monuments. She said the Confederacy was part of her family history in Louisiana, and removing the flag was disrespectful to her family. I am familiar with Miss Arlene Barnum and her family history. A woman of good character and honor.
“Had the Union not invaded the South, my great-great grandmother (a slave) would not have died by Union soldiers,” Barnum said. “She would have been alive to raise her 2-year-old child. I take it personal.”
Barnum’s appearance raised more than a few eyebrows in the crowd. Likely from the virtue-signaling protesters who came to play the part of Westboro Baptist Church sycophants. I am certain everyone else who attended for all the right reasons were far from shocked at her appearance since she is a well know Confederate heritage activist. As she finished her speech, one white woman gave her a hug and called her “sister.” Certainly, having a black person support the Confederate flag is an effective method to demonstrate that supporters are not racists and white supremacists. Or it might demonstrate that the people who are there actually do think and live in the modern-day world, rather than some nostalgic "moonlight and magnolias" fantasy stereotype you seem to be putting them into? Ever consider that one even for just a fraction of a moment in your heart of hearts dude? Maybe people are all free-thinking individuals and not just some group-think stereotype that fits into a neat little peg? Try that one on for size.

Counter-demonstration arrives


Not everyone was so supportive. Enter the virtue-signaling, white guilt-ridden regressives.
Halfway through the rally, a half-dozen young white men quietly approached the back of the crowd with signs of protest. One sign read, WILL WORK FOR....WAIT, I'M A LEFTIST. NEVERMIND!  “Not all rednecks are this backwards!!”
A few young black men who had lingered at the park’s edge also came closer to the crowd and listened.
Meanwhile, a wiry 20-something man held a sign about 50 yards away. His Poorly conceived sign depicted the Confederate battle flag as being equal to “treason,” and he began yelling, which caused one of the speakers at the podium to lose his train of thought momentarily.
An older gray-haired woman began walking to the rear of the park to confront the mouthy protester. Police followed. When she came upon him, she firmly but calmly explained to him how it was rude to interrupt. The young man, who said his name was Christopher, lowered his voice and told her his protest was against racism. Their back-and-forth continued out of earshot of the rally but with Shawnee police keeping close eye on it. After all an older gray-haired woman is a threat to a young Social "Just Us" regressive huh?
Another speaker echoed Cash and Barnum about how the flag is not about racism.
“It’s in honor of our family,” said Kevin Easterling, a Sons of Confederate Veterans officer from Moore.
Then, with a rousing a cappella rendition of “Dixie” followed by some gun salutes from the honor guard, the rally came to a close.
And that is when things got more interesting. Well, let's just see how this assclown defines the term "interesting" shall we?

A heated back and forth

A series of verbal skirmishes began between young white protesters and some of the rally attendees. Nothing physically violent. Just strong words. Forceful expressions. That continued for a good 45 minutes after the rally ended — out there beneath the park’s walnut and oak trees. Police officers stood by in close attention like referees at a basketball game, but they never had to call a foul. A wonderful testament to the good nature and temperament of well disciplined and mannered Southern ladies and gentlemen.

Confederate flag rally
A protester named Christopher argues against the Confederate flag with Arlene Barnum, a black supporter of the flag. (Michael Duncan)

Barnum hurried over to confront the young man, Christopher, whose half-hour of yelling had nearly made him hoarse. He also ended up losing said argument big time as evidenced in the video posted on YouTube HERE. The fact a black woman was arguing for the Confederate flag while a white man was arguing against it, created, for me, a moment of disorientation. The reason for this is because you went into this event with nothing resembling an open-minded approach. The result of which was when confronted with something that challenged your worldview -- even momentarily -- you reacted in the expected way. Oh by the way, if the idea of a black Southern woman being proud of Confederate heritage causes you even a moment of disorientation, THIS, THIS, THIS, THIS, and THIS should really blow your mind.
That debate ran off the rails when it boiled down to an argument over whether Abraham Lincoln had ever held slaves. Even I know that argument is a stupid one. I mean I could argue that Lincoln didn't see black Americans as equals with whites -- a fact even he once stated on more than one occasion. But no, there is little proof he even owned slaves. There are stories some in his family line might have, but that's another debate entirely and does nothing to advance the narrative here. With the discussion turning circular, I decided to head home.

Sons of Confederate Veterans seek imaginary sanctity


The Sons of Confederate Veterans and folks like them are fighting a battle to resurrect some sanctity of the Confederate battle flag that never existed. So far, your logic has proven flawed. Your conclusion therefore is also bound to be an error. Let's see if you can provide proof of that shall we? Even if it did, it’s long gone. Like it or not — fair or not — even Cash admitted the KKK hijacked the symbol, and white supremacists aren’t giving it back. Maybe not, but neither should good and honorable people simply allow them to have sole claim to it. Say what you want about the honor and courage of your forefathers, the 20th- and 21st-century meaning of this flag has little to do with that and more to do with lingering racism in this country. Your opinion, and thankfully not one shared by the vast majority of this country as a whole. Your promotion of that view has far more to do with acceptance of racism than the efforts on the part of honorable Southerners to resist the white supremacists and the politically correct.
To argue that the ancestors had a noble cause necessarily turns the debate into an argument attempting to justify the Confederacy in the first place. And that does not fly. I don't try to justify the Confederacy, largely because I don't feel the need to. I could care less about the Confederate government. All I care about is honoring and defending the good name of the Confederate soldier -- a recognized American Veteran.
What Confederate flag supporters refuse to acknowledge is that, had the Union failed and the Confederacy survived, slavery and oppression of the black race in America would have continued into the 20th century. Actually not accurate in either the case of refusing to acknowledge the role of slavery in the war, or in the fact that slavery would have lingered into the 20th century. Racial discrimination lingered across the world regardless of the CSA's continued existence. There was no move afoot to bring equality to the races in the South. So....men like Booker T. Washington and WEB DuBois didn't exist then? Per the Deo Vindice motto, the whites believed they had moral and religious justification for their presumed racial superiority. Wow how do you get that from "God as our vindicator"? I would again point out that whites in Europe and America held that presumed belief of racial superiority without the existence of the CSA being necessary. A point you obviously either overlook, or try to pin one a single point of American history in order for the ideology you worship to safe face. Either way, that argument does not fly -- to borrow your phrase.
These Sons of Confederate Veterans who are hung up on vindicating their ancestors and protecting the honor of the Confederate flag ignore that. A point I already disproved. Moving on.

Keep family history separate from self-worth Um....what?


The oldest piece of memorabilia in my family is the charcoal portrait of Samuel F. Darnall that hangs in my living room. It was drawn by an unknown artist in the late 1870s in north Texas, where he had moved from Tennessee after his service in Newsom’s Regiment of the Tennessee Cavalry in 1863. He served in the Army of Tennessee, along with his brother, James, who died at the Battle of Chickamauga. My great-great grandfather on my dad's side also died at The River of Death on September 19, 1863.
Their cavalry commander was none other than Nathan Bedford Forrest, later said by historians to be one of the early Grand Wizards of the Ku Klux Klan.
Still, I have never felt the need to “vindicate” my ancestors. Neither have I, though I imagine that our reasons for felling this way widely differ. I assume (I think rightly) our Southern ancestors had little choice but to fight for the Confederacy like most of their neighbors. Wow, now there is an amazing superpower right there folks! The ability of a Leftist to looking into the hearts and minds of people they have never met and then make a bold claim to know with certainty what they think and feel. Golly-gee-Wilkerson, I wish I had that amazing ability!
Their choice was either to avoid enlistment and face ridicule for cowardice and treason to the Homeland or join up and risk death. The former was a certainty. The latter was merely a theoretical possibility. Still, there weren’t many conscientious objectors back in the 1860s on either side. Unfortunately, I know far too many Confederate descendants who feel as you do and accept such happy fiction in order to keep the "guilt" at bay.
So, I don’t blame my great-great grandfathers for enlisting and fighting for the Confederacy, even if we agree today that they were on the wrong side. I certainly don't agree with that at all. While their participation is a fact which makes for rich genealogical discussion, it does not define for me who they were. Frankly, I don’t know who they were, what their interests or desires were, what they loved or what they hated. Wait what? Um, didn't you just say: "I assume (I think rightly) our Southern ancestors had little choice but to fight for the Confederacy like most of their neighbors"? You do realize that you just completely contradicted your own argument here, right? Great job, moron! My great-great grandpa Darnall’s picture is on my wall because it is a part of my family history. It’s not there because he was justified in fighting for the Army of Tennessee.
Most importantly, it just doesn’t matter to me. What my ancestors believed has no bearing on who I am or what I believe. Some of my ancestors believed it was their duty to kill any Englishman who set foot on their Irish homeland 700 years ago. Obviously I don't believe that myself. So what is your point? I don’t need them to have been good people for me to feel good about myself. Oh for pity sake, is THAT what this little virtue-signaling bit of incoherent "journalism" has been about for you? Feeling good about yourself? Ugh! Remind me who is seeking the "imaginary sanctity" again?
And yet, I got the sense that it mattered a great deal to many of those in attendance Saturday in the park. Then much like the rest of your article, your assumption there is built on a number of false premises and stereotypical untruths. I can assure you that the people in attendance there already feel secure in their own personal identities, thank you very much. Obviously the same cannot be said of you, sir. 

Now for my final thoughts. 

I have no photo of my great-great-grandfather, Sgt. Jackson S. Roden, Co. A 48th Alabama Infantry, CSA. I have never visited his grave in Blount County, Alabama. Nor have I even to date visited the battlefield where he gave his life in defense of his farm, his family, his neighbors, and his individual liberty. 

I have never met him while living on this Earth, and I don't expect to ever have the opportunity do so until the day the Lord calls me home. 

I do however keep in my position a replica gray Confederate soldier's uniform of the type that my great-great-grandfather might have worn; one that I wear on certain days of the year to events honoring Confederate heritage, or for memorial purposes. I also have a very good replica of the battle flag pattern that he served under as a member of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

While I put on what I hope is a reasonable impression of my ancestor when I wear that gray uniform and carry that flag in Confederate Memorial Day and Confederate Flag Day events, I know intellectually that I am not my great-great-grandfather. I am a man born in the later half of the 20th century and not bound by the thinking of an American Southerner born in 1832 in rural Alabama. Nor do I have any nostalgic ideas about wanting to have fought in that awful War as he did; although in his place I would not have shied away from making that same decision he did, regardless of my previously stated personal objections to the idea of war. Fighting for home and family is no disgrace, and certainly self-defense is the only noble reason to fight at all.

What connects me to him is American-Ulster-Irish blood, and our last names. That is a part of a living heritage, the same one in which his service as a Confederate soldier and Southerner is very much a part of.  A service that I feel absolutely no shame for, rather I feel a great deal of pride that he did his duty as he saw fit for the sake of his family and the land of his birth -- Dixie. I am honored to have that connection to him and to all other honorable members of my family name. 

When I defend the Dixie Cross banner that he fought under, the banner that by blood and birthright is also mine as well; I defend that heritage and connection. I defend someone who is dead and cannot protect himself from modern-day ridicule and scorn. I am his voice, and the voice of those who fought with him. 

I speak out whenever someone misuses that flag as a symbol of hatred, or condemns it as a tool of hatred; because that flag -- my flag -- carries my great-great-grandfather's name -- my name -- and nobody has the right to use that name to attack other Southerners and Americans. Nor will they do so with my approval as long as I still draw breath, and my ashes have yet to be scattered to the wind. 

That is why people like Miss Barnum, Mr. Cash and tens of thousands of others speak out. It has nothing to do with virtue-signaling, or feeling a need to justify anything. We already know who we are and feel secure in that identity as proud Confederate descendants. It is about defending a living heritage, a connection we share by blood with those who came before us. It is about being the voice of those same ancestors and our own family names. 

Our self-worth does not come from that connection alone. It comes from doing the right thing and taking a moral stand against those who feel no self-worth beyond the need to tear down and destroy others to fill a hole in their own regressive hearts. 

Believe me when I say that I feel pretty damn good about myself right now.  

Peace out!