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Sons of Confederate Veterans plan flag ceremony

The Georgia Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter erected this 30-by-50-foot flag on a 120-foot flagpole three months ago, and will hold a flag dedication ceremony Saturday.

The Georgia Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter erected this 30-by-50-foot flag on a 120-foot flagpole three months ago, and will hold a flag dedication ceremony Saturday.

TIFTON, Ga. -- As part of the organization's Flags Across Georgia project, the Georgia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will hold a flag dedication ceremony Saturday on property at the Willis Still Road exit (71) of Interstate 75 just north of Tifton.

The Georgia SCV chapter erected the 30-by-50-foot flag on a 120-foot flagpole three months ago.

"The Georgia division of the Sons of Confedrate Veterans is putting up flags at highly visible locations across the state," Georgia division spokesman Dan Coleman said Wednesday. "It's our way of showing people of the South that we have pride in our ancestry.

"The SCV was given a charge in 1906 to protect the good name and honor of the Confederate soldiers who fought in the War Between the States. We raise the flags to honor those veterans."

The 4 p.m. ceremony will include displays of period dress, weaponry and music, as well as speeches by such notables as Georgia SCV Division Commander Jack Bridwell, former gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry and past commander of the SCV's Army of the Trans-Mississippi division Paul Grambling, who will serve as the main speaker.

"This ceremony will serve as something of a kickoff to the SCV's recognition of the 150th anniversary of the war," Bridwell said. "We're planning a number of events in the coming year. They are all held to honor the people who served and died in the War Between the States, as well as those who did not fight but served on the homefront."

James King, the commander of the Albany-based SCV Lt. Col. Thomas M. Nelson Camp, said one of the reasons for holding the ceremony was to educate the public about the Confederate battle flag.

"Opponents charge that the 'Southern Cross' is a symbol of slavery, bigotry and racial hatred," King said. "They say the flag is a symbol of a lost cause and that those who honor the Confederate flag are living in the past and corrupting the future.

"The truth is, though, the Southern Cross is a reminder of the martyrdom of St. Andrew, a disciple of Christ. As a symbol of Dixie, if signifies the faith, honor, courage and dignity of the Southern spirit."

Coleman said the Sons of Confederate Veterans display the Confederate battle emblem to honor those who fought in the Civil War and to help dispel the contention that "the War Between the States was fought over slavery."

"That inaccuracy has been promoted over the last 40 years," Coleman said. "The war was fought for freedom and independence. The South could have kept slavery in perpetuity had it agreed to the Corwin Amendment offered by President Lincoln as an alternative to secession."

King, too, said the Civil War was fought for Southern independence.

"Slavery was a dying institution by the time of the War Between the States," he said. "The effort to portray Southerners as rebels and traitors who fought to preserve slavery is misleading our children and millions of Americans.

"The Civil War was a war for Southern independence and states' rights."

Bridwell said the public is invited to take part in Saturday's ceremony.