Madison County Opinion...

 January 17, 2001

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
January 17, 2001

Frankly Speaking

Robert E. Lee was a great man
Last week I described for you the characteristics of a Southern Gentleman. This week I want to introduce you to the man who most clearly deserved the title.
This war hero was the only man to complete his studies at West Point without receiving one demerit. In his military career, he always gave credit for victories to his subordinates, but took personal blame for his defeats. This great man was never too busy to entertain a child. He always honored the ladies in his presence. He was quick to refer to God in his conversations. I am referring, of course, to the great Robert E. Lee.
Here are a few little-known facts about Lee. When the split between North and South developed, General Lee was offered command of the Army of the Potomac. Being a strong believer in State Sovereignty, Lee refused, offering his services to the State of Virginia.
Lee's wife had inherited slaves from her father. Before departing to lead the Army of Northern Virginia, Lee signed papers freeing all slaves in his family. In contrast, the slaves inherited by the wife of General Grant were not freed until the ratification of the 13th Amendment.
When he was forced to surrender his army, Lee left the field to the tears of his troops, and applause by his opponents.
Every year, a coalition of Southern organizations remembers General Robert E. Lee with a birthday celebration at the state capital in Atlanta. You may not know about these ceremonies, because the politically correct media in Atlanta refuses to provide coverage. The ceremony this year will be at noon on Saturday, Jan. 20. Organizers have reserved the blue parking lot at Turner Field for those taking part.
A parade from the parking lot to the Capital will begin at 11:00 a.m. accompanied by bagpipes and Confederate re-enactors.
Following a recent tradition, the keynote speaker for the event will be a black supporter of Southern culture, Mr. J.J. Johnson, editor of the Sierra Times. Other speakers include Rev. John Killian of Alabama, Heritage Preservation Association President P. Charles Lunsford and Allan Trapp, Commander of the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Organizers of this year's celebration have set a goal of 10,000 Southern Patriots taking part. With a parade this size making the one-mile march from Turner Field to the Capital, the Atlanta media will be forced to provide coverage. With any luck, they will report some of the comments made by the speakers, and a little truth will penetrate the historic misinformation about the Confederacy that forms the basis of attacks on the Georgia flag and other Southern cultural icons.
I hope any of you who have a chance, and an interest, will make the trip. My own work schedule will likely keep me away, but I will be there in spirit.
Robert E. Lee was one of the greatest Americans. He fought to defend the principles of the American Revolution that were being taken away by Northern politicians for their own economic and political gain. The defeat of his army is a major factor in the massive, intrusive federal government that today denies us the level of personal freedom promised by the founding fathers.
The battle to restore state sovereignty, to limit the size of the federal
government, and to bring back the degree of liberty promised by our founding fathers must continue, and one of the best ways of carrying on the battle is to honor the hero of this effort, General Robert E. Lee.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at His e-mail address is


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By Ben Munro
The Madison County Journal
January 17, 2001

In Other Words

My three years at the Journal
"Look at that young buck," I've said to myself lately when I look at that baby-faced mug shot at the top of this column. "That can't be me."
Well, Ben, it is you - three years ago, when you started this job.
It's hard to believe that it has been just three years considering that the photo makes me look like I just wandered out of a middle school classroom.
The young face on that lad has become scruffy and seasoned since then; the "wear and tear" of the job while doubling as a UGA student (mostly football stress-related) has taken its toll.
So this is my anniversary. No, not the type when guys get nice gifts from their lady friend.
This is a different kind of anniversary - celebrating three years of marriage to a job. The job has been a constant companion that has kept me driving all over the northeast part of the state and typing into the wee hours in the morning.
If we haven't met yet, my name is Ben Munro - your local sports reporter (mainly).
I started three years ago at the Journal as a "stringer" covering JV sports under then-Journal news editor Bert Brantley. I was a UGA freshman pre-journalism student hungry for experience in journalism. Brantley was moved to the Jackson Herald two weeks after I started, then Zach Mitcham became the Journal editor and I soon became a staff writer and the rest is history - well, brief history, that is.
Since 1998, I've been playing the journalism game, trying to work my way up the ladder while under the tutelage of Mainstreet Newspapers employees and a brain trust of professors at UGA.
And needless to say, Madison County sports have given me plenty to write about.
In my first few months, I got to cover the 1998 Madison County baseball team that turned a 4-8 disastrous start into a triumph that ended up in near-state championship.
And just recently in the fall of 2000, I was able watch the community of Madison County catch football fever in the Raiders' 10-0 run.
But I have a tapestry of sports favorites that have fallen in between - Scott Tolbert's no-hitter in 1998 and then a perfect game a year later, a towering shot by current Bulldog Adam Swann that seemingly disappeared over the old pine trees at Red Raider field in a playoff game in 1998, Jackson County's football field being engulfed by red and gray after the Raiders snapped a 16-game losing streak in 1998, among many others.
My heart sank too while on the job - even though the press is supposed to be "impartial." For example, the Raiders missed upsets on the gridiron against Commerce in 1998 and 1999, just as they did in those same years when late interceptions negated consecutive wins over Habersham Central. The 60-point headlines would have been nice with my byline below it, but wins for my alma mater would have been more rewarding.
And I've felt the pride of an older sibling too when my brother, Thomas, caught a 29-yard touchdown pass against the Panthers in 1998 from longtime friend Steve Sanders to help break that victory drought. You see, this is the good stuff - the bonuses that don't show up on any paycheck; wages that the government can't tax.
And I've seen golf phenom Ryan Hybl smoke 300-yard tee shots, watched a group of girls, who were freshmen on the JV squad when I started, push their basketball to top-10 heights now that they are seniors and I've also seen everyday stuff, like the Raider football squad fighting against the summer heat in August practice. I've had a chance to see everything as a sports reporter - the individual performances, the team triumphs and the behind-the-scenes; the great patchwork quilt that is sports.
I've been the scribe, silently clicking away at my computer trying to paint to you the picture of the sporting events that make Madison County's history. And years from now when you want to reminisce on your achievements on the athletic field or recall the moments of watching your son or daughter compete, you will look back and read what the Journal said.
Informing you is one thing of importance, but giving you lasting memories is another - nostalgia is a great thing. A picture is worth a thousand words, but so is a memory. It's a reporter's job to paint the image with those words when those timeless moments arise.
So I hope I have filled you in a game when you've needed it; that time you may have missed your son's game winning home run or you daughter's buzzer-beating shot because work and other obligations got in the way. I hope I've captured a moment for you that you can put in a scrapbook.
And if you want to talk to me it's not hard to find me. My office is usually located courtside, behind the backstop, on the sideline - beside wherever Red Raider athletic teams play.
Tell me what you think, whether it be praise or ridicule. My door is always open.
Ben Munro is a reporter for The Madison County Journal.
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