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Let us honor our Confederate soldiers

Guest commentary

Calvin E. Johnson Jr.

Calvin E. Johnson Jr.

Confederate Memorial Day has been a legal holiday in Georgia since 1874 by an act of the Georgia General Assembly and bill signed by then Gov. James Smith, who also served as Confederate colonel, lawyer and congressman.

Efforts to mark Confederate graves, erect monuments, hold memorial services and get Confederate Memorial Day recognized as an official holiday was the idea of Lizzie Rutherford and Mrs. Charles J. Williams of the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus.

April is a great time to take your family lately to Stone Mountain Memorial Park located near Atlanta. The larger-than-life Southern Memorial carving there of American heroes Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee is awesome to behold and a great educational experience for young and old, black and white, northerner and southerner and people from around God's good earth.

Did you know black confederate soldiers are buried on the grounds of Atlanta's Morehouse College, a four-year historically black college, located on the highest ground where the Battle of Atlanta was fought?... And, not far from here is Marietta's Confederate Cemetery which is the final resting place of black confederate drummer Bill Yopp and 3,000 of his fellow comrades.

Tennessee Sen. Edward Ward Carmack said it best in 1903: "The confederate soldiers were our kinfolk and our heroes. We testify to the country our enduring fidelity to their memory. We commemorate their valor and devotion. There were some things that were not surrendered at Appomattox. We did not surrender our rights and history; nor was it one of the conditions of surrender that unfriendly lips should be suffered to tell the story of that war or that unfriendly hands should write the epitaphs of the Confederate dead. We have the right to teach our children the true history of the war, the causes that led up to it and the principles involved."

Black History Month, Jewish History Month, Hispanic History Month and Women's History Month is a time set aside to remember the best contributions of a people and the word "controversial" is never used to describe these Americans.

Why then do people including some in the news media, refer to remembering our family on Confederate Memorial Day as controversial? The fact is that men and women of European, African, Hispanic, American Indian, Jewish and even Chinese heritage took their stand in defense of the South "Dixie" during the War Between the States, 1861-65.

The Constitution of the Confederates States of America will be exhibited from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. today, Confederate Memorial Day, at the University of Georgia, Special Collections Library, 300 South Hull St, Athens.

See complete details at: http://www.libs.uga.edu/blog/?event=confederate-constitution-on-display.

Today, those of little knowledge about those men of gray attack the Confederate flag that was bravely carried in many battles ... and they want the Confederate flag removed from many places, including the Confederate statue at the State Capitol in Columbia, S.C. When the soldiers of Blue and Gray walked the earth, few criticized these men.

April is Confederate History and Heritage Month. Read more on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ConfederateHeritageMonth.

Calvin E. Johnson Jr., of Kennesaw, is a speaker, writer of short stories, author of the book "When America stood for God, Family and Country" and chairman of the National and Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Confederate History and Heritage Month committee.

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