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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!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Celebrating Confederate Memorial Day 2017 In Columbia, SC -- Part One

My Confederate gray uniform coat with SCV Guardian Medal
and Cockade bearing an AVC (Alabama Volunteer Corps) button
honoring my great-great-grandfather: A Confederate citizen soldier.

Greetings my friends and fellow travelers!

On Saturday, May 6th of this year, I was honored to once again take part in the annual Confederate Memorial Day observation in Columbia, South Carolina. This one was the 17th annual service that I have attended -- never missing a year yet since joining the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) in 2001.

The Columbia service honoring the Confederate Memorial Day State Holiday in South Carolina is one of the largest of the dozens of smaller services that take place across the State every May. 

This observance officially begins the day before with the Reading of the Roll of the Dead. The names of the over 18,600 known dead of South Carolina's military personnel who gave their lives for the State and the Confederate States of America (CSA) during the War Between The States 1861-1865. Each name is read by volunteers and honored by the ringing of a bell during the event, which begins the Friday before at 10 AM EST on the Statehouse steps and continues throughout the day, evening, and night until completed the next afternoon with the final ten names read during the Confederate Memorial Day Service. 

On the following Saturday, the main services begin at Columbia's Elmwood Cemetery at the Confederate Soldiers' section of the cemetery. There are over two hundred Confederate soldiers -- many of them Unknown -- buried there, though only about 170 of them actually have tombstones. The rest are buried there, but their exact graves remain unknown, a sad story I will touch upon in a future blog post. 

The Elmwood Cemetery service is a beautiful service put on by the Mary Boykin Chesnut Chapter #2517 SC Division United Daughters of the Confederacy from Columbia.  

The following photographs were taken by me (except the ones noted in the captions) during both the Elmwood Cemetery UDC service and the parade march to the SC Statehouse grounds, led by Confederate re-enactors of the Palmetto Battalion and the 16th SC Color Guard of Honor.

A friend and UDC member Mrs. Shannon Kimbrell
took this outstanding photo of yours truly near the end of the service
wearing my Confederate gray uniform, wide-brim hat,
carpetbag haversack...and my trusty (and decidedly non-period)
DSC-H300 Sony Cyber-shot digital camera.
The grave of Confederate Brigadier General Maxcy Gregg
a South Carolina native, mortally wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg
on Saturday, December 13, 1862.
Inscription on Brig. Gen. Maxcy Gregg's grave marker.
Many of the Confederate soldiers' graves throughout the 
cemetery were marked with new Southern "Dixie Cross" banners.
The Confederate graves were marked by black painted
Southern Crosses of Honor
Confederate graves at Elmwood Cemetery, Columbia, SC.
UDC arch in front of the Confederate Soldiers' Section of Elmwood Cemetery.
The arch was built in 1951 and recently repainted.
Many of the graves in the Confederate Soldiers' Section
are marked as Unknown Soldiers.
These Union soldiers died in or around Columbia during the Radical
Reconstruction Era (1867 - 1876) and were buried near the Confederate
graves by the Federal occupiers to symbolically remind the people of Columbia
that the US government controlled the former Confederate States once again.
The Union soldiers' graves are marked every Confederate Memorial Day
by the UDC and SCV with US flags respectfully.
Tree planted as a sapling in January 2000 during a
pro-Confederate flag rally attended by over 6,000
Confederate descendants.
Confederate Soldiers' Home Monument with names of aged
United Confederate Veterans who lived there in their final years, many
of them buried throughout the cemetery.
Inscription on the back of the Confederate
Soldiers' Home Monument.
Southern-Confederate flags flying on poles at the Confederate Soldier's Section
of Elmwood Cemetery. Banners from Left to Right:
The Bonnie Blue Flag,
Southern (Dixie) Cross -- Army of Tennessee Battle Flag Pattern (Late War),
State of South Carolina Flag (which was designed just prior to the War),
1st Confederate National "Stars & Bars" Flag (1861-1863),
2nd Confederate National "Stainless Banner" Flag (1863-1865),
3rd Confederate National "Bloodstained Banner" Flag (1865).
Confederate soldier re-enactors of the Palmetto Battalion marching in
formation to the site of the UDC Memorial Service.
The Picken Pearls from Pickens, SC preforming
the music for the UDC Memorial Service.
The posting of the colors at the beginning of the
UDC Memorial Service.
Mrs. Ann P. Shugart, President of the SC Division United Daughters
of the Confederacy offering greetings.
Mr. Leland Summers, Commander of the SC Division
Sons of Confederate Veterans offering greetings.
Miss Wendy Evans Tucker, President, SC Division Children of
the Confederacy offering greetings.
Mr. Gerald Goins of the Palmetto Battalion offering greetings.
Dr. Buddy Witherspoon, SC Society, Military Order of the Stars
& Bars addressing those gathered.
Color bearer of the Palmetto Battalion standing post
beside the stage.
Commander Leland Summers (SC SCV), President Ann P. Shugart (SC UDC),
& President Wendy Tucker (SC CoC) carrying the memorial wreath to
place at the grave of unknown Confederate dead.
The Palmetto Battalion Re-enactors firing
three volleys in military salute.
Participants line up for the three mile march and parade
from Elmwood Cemetery to the SC Statehouse.

The following series of photos showing the arrival of the parade to the SC Statehouse grounds were taken by my friend, Miss Renee Bell Gallien of the SC UDC. If you look closely you can see yours truly taking one of the pictures above at the arrival. Following those are two photographs taken of the arrival of the parade courtesy of facebook sources.

(Photograph courtesy of facebook.)
(Photograph courtesy of facebook.)

Well folks, I hope y'all enjoyed my photo journal journey from Elmwood Cemetery to the South Carolina Capitol steps. My next blog post will be Part Two of this event, ending with the SC Division Sons of Confederate Veterans memorial service on the Statehouse grounds. 

Until then, have a wonderful Dixie Day, y'all!

Lest We Forget!

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