What you don't know may astound you.
|Thank you to:
John K. McNeill SCV Camp #674
PO Box 1353
Moultrie, Georgia 31776
|Honoring Confederate Symbols
|Latest on Edisto Crossing Monument and
Flag - see below
|See Confederate History
|During Vietnam, while at Fort Benning, Georgia as a young enlistee, I witnessed a parade with Army
historical color guards and colors from our nation’s history being paraded. I still have photos of it.
As a young Southerner I was proud of the fact that a Confederate Army color guard marched with a
Battle Flag in review. This color guard represented the valor and courage of soldiers who were my
ancestors. Under President McKinley, a series of four acts of Congress from 1900-1958 restored
Confederate soldiers’ standing as “American” soldiers ---- part of “reconciliation” of the North and
South. That’s why Confederates have VA headstones. That reconciliation is now being undone by
haters and people with a lack of cultural historical knowledge and appreciation despite a
comprehensive national poll by Lou Harris. That poll shows that 82% of Americans have no
problems with Confederate emblems. In an age of PC, the tyranny of the minority appears to be the
I have taught logic and critical thinking courses at the Army’s Command and General Staff College for
years. I taught in the graduate history department prior to retiring from the US Army. What amazes
me is the lack of historical knowledge by graduate students. Former Under Secretary of the Army,
Norm Augustine (retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin) in a recent ARMY magazine article
stated that “…it’s not primarily the memorized facts that have current and former CEOs like me
concerned. It’s the other things that subjects like history impart: critical thinking….”. Dr. Bruce Cole
(Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a member of the Eisenhower Memorial
Commission) stated in a column entitled “American Amnesia” that a:
“…study of students at 55 elite universities found that over a third were unable to identify the
Constitution as establishing the division of powers in our government, only 29% could identify the
term "Reconstruction" and 40% could not place the Civil War in the correct century….[and]…that
over half of high school seniors couldn't say who we fought in World War II.”
The poll represents “educated” Americans. Some of these are the same people mindlessly criticizing
Confederate monuments, symbols and flags that they know virtually nothing about.
When Army students (mostly majors) ask me if Confederates wore gray, or blue uniforms, I know
that even we, as a professional military institution, reflect the history ignorance of our society at
large. In the graduate course on the Civil War that I taught, more than half of the military students
were at the high school, or lower, level of knowledge about the Civil War. Unfortunately, the best
educated on US history are many times our foreign military students. So what? Well, if US students
don’t know the basic facts of the war, how can they understand the more complex ones? They can’t.
They parrot mindless mantras like “The Confederate flag is a symbol of racism!” I guarantee they
don’t know the difference between the “Stars and Bars” and the “Battle Flag”.
Granted, some racists have misused the Battle Flag. They misuse the US flag just as much, yet, under
the (il)logic of Confederate flag haters, it gets a total “pass”. A number of photos of KKK rallies with
US flags can be easily found online. One of the largest KKK rallies occurred in Washington, D.C. and
not a single Confederate flag can be seen in a sea of US flags. This logic fallacy of stereotyping
everyone with a Confederate emblem as a racist is ignorant and totally illogical except for some like
Louis Farrakhan. He uses the same criteria to condemn the US flag. His logic is perfect----even if his
premise is wrong. Yep, the US flag is a RACIST emblem.
Cultural cleansing is wrong. Our version of the Taliban is trying to cleanse our Southern heritage
because of ignorance. The Sons of Union Veterans (descendants of Union soldiers) proclaim in a 2000
resolution that they support the flying of the Confederate Battle Flag and our Confederate
monuments. They recognize the history and truth of why Southerners honor their ancestors.
President Eisenhower, who recorded his views in a letter to a concerned citizen, told why he honored
General Lee with a portrait in his White House office. In their convoluted reasoning, haters believe
Eisenhower was a racist for doing that as well.
LtCol (ret) Edwin Kennedy is a retired US Army infantryman. He was invited to speak at the Army’
s Equal Opportunity Conference at Fort Gordon, Georgia about black Confederate soldiers. He has
given that presentation around the country. The views expressed in this column are his personal ones
and do not reflect the official views of the US Army’s Command and General Staff College or those of
the US Army.
|Honoring Confederate Symbols
|A Factor Yes, but The Cause No
"But slavery was far from being the sole cause of the prolonged conflict.
Neither its destruction on the one hand, nor its defense on the other, was the
energizing force that held the contending armies to four years of bloody work.
I apprehend that if all living Union soldiers were summoned to the witness-
stand, every one of them would testify that it was the preservation of the
American Union and not the destruction of Southern slavery that induced him
to volunteer at the call of his country.
….No other proof, however, is needed than the undeniable fact that at any
period of the war from its beginning to near its close the South could have
saved slavery by simply laying down its arms and returning to the Union."
General John B. Gordon, from Reminiscences of the Civil War, page 19
|Edisto Crossing Monument and Flag
|Is the saga of the Confederate Flag
located adjacent to the Edisto River
Creamery & Kitchen in Orangeburg, SC
finally coming to a fair and just
resolution? The February 22d ruling by
South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Maite
Murphy would seem to answer this
question in the affirmative. Judge
Murphy’s ruling, affirming a prior ruling
by the Orangeburg City Zoning Board of
Appeals, contained the key phrase of the
ruling, “…the use of the property by
Rivers Bridge Camp #842 did not violate
the zoning ordinances or regulations.”
|Judge Murphy’s ruling came about as the result of an appeal to the circuit court
of a ruling by the City of Orangeburg Zoning Board of Appeals. Basically the
ruling of the Zoning Board had stated that a memorial maintained by Rivers
Bridge Camp No. 842, Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) on a small parcel of
privately owned land was not in violation of the City’s zoning ordinance.
That parcel contains a small granite marker and a Confederate Army of Northern
Virginia Battle Flag. It is maintained in honor and memory of the Confederate
Soldiers who defended the Edisto Crossing in February 1865. Though vastly
outnumbered by the Union Army of General William T. Sherman, these men
made their stand in spite of the odds. Even knowing that they could not stop the
juggernaut, they stood faithful and did what they could. The memorial is located
adjacent to the Edisto River Creamery & Kitchen and it has been alleged that this
business has suffered because of the presence of the Battle Flag. It has been
further alleged that the SCV had even gone to the extent of marching around the
business to discourage customers. Such behavior by Rivers Bridge Camp No.
842, SCV is categorically denied; our leadership has from the very beginning of
this ordeal advised our membership to, “Let the law take its course.” Looking
back it has been sound advice.
Our stand regarding our heritage and the defense of it is not politically correct
and as a result we may seem to be in the minority. In addition, it would appear
from the stories in the popular media that we might have a difficult time getting a
fair hearing of our side of the story. All this leads to the possibility of the
question, “Can we obtain a fair hearing in court?” Though we may have had
our doubts at first, we rejoice that we can say we were fairly heard at each
level from Zoning Board through Circuit Court. We appreciate the
persons involved for basing their decisions upon the law and not on
whatever their personal feelings might be toward our memorial.
We could write much in defense of ourselves with refutations of the many
baseless accusations made against us, but at this point we choose to let the
situation heal. The Edisto River Creamery & Kitchen property is now up for sale
or lease and we take no satisfaction in this fact. On the contrary, we would like
to see all businesses flourish. It is doubtful if any informed citizen in the
Orangeburg area actually thought the Battle Flag had anything to do with the
restaurant; we give them much more credit than that. It all begs the question
“Was the business failure about the flag or more about product, quality and
While this is a victory of sorts, it is not something that we gloat over; instead our
joy comes primarily from the fact that our trusting the rule of law and those who
faithfully carry it out has been vindicated. As Attorney Lauren Martel stated, “I
am so grateful the law prevailed and that the judge took her time and did a good
job and reviewed all the facts and evidence provided at the hearing level. She
made a well-founded order and it’s a victory for the Constitution and victory for
freedom and land use. It really has nothing to do with racism or any sort of
emotional decision. It was all done on the law and free use of property.”
We hear much about, “being on the right side of history,” but have you ever
considered that phrase? The “right side of history” is usually determined by
those who write history. And it’s never really settled; our perceptions of history
change over time. Distance should, but does not always, improve perspective;
the rightness of many decisions continues to be debated thousands of years after
the actual events under discussion. People use this phrase in an effort to lay
claim to some moral high ground of the moment. We can only judge that the
current “right” is based on our own sense of morals and ethics, and hope we
make the right choices in the eyes of those who come after us. Let our true
history, all of it, be presented to future generations.
|He has come to be known as, "The Keeper of the
Flag," but more than that he is a person who
cherishes his Southern Heritage. Many say they love
their history, but are reluctant, if not unwilling, to
stand in the breech when that love carries a personal
cost. We are speaking of Compatriot Joseph "Buzz"
Braxton II. During the ordeal that developed around
the Edisto Crossing Memorial maintained by Rivers
Bridge Camp No. 842, Sons of Confederate Veterans,
"Buzz" was ever ready to present the truth of what
motivates us in this matter. Many in society today just
don't "get it;" how can we care about those who lived
so long ago? We are kindred spirits who share the
belief that we can coexist with all people and have a
better world without "throwing our ancestors under
the bus." Thank you for your faithfulness, "Buzz."
|Joseph "Buzz" Braxton II - "Keeper of the Flag"
|"It really has nothing to do with racism or any sort of emotional decision. It was all
done on the law and free use of property.”