It was not that long ago that Confederate Memorial Day was a big deal in Georgia. I clearly remember the parades, the political speeches, the barbecue. But these happy days have fallen victim of “political correctness” and very little of the celebrations survives. All that is left is the occasional memorial program held by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and a paid holiday for state government workers.

Oh, you did not know that all state offices will be closed for the holiday. And just in case you forgot, Confederate Memorial Day is April 26. This year that falls on Thursday.

There is one major tradition still practiced for the holiday. Each year, the original Confederate Constitution is on display at the University of Georgia rare books library. That day it is unrolled and placed in a glass covered table along with a selection of other documents from the period. If you have never seen it, I suggest that you make the trip. It is a rare document and is only available that one day each year. The rest of the time, it is rolled and stored in a lead lined tube and locked in a vault.

Athens resident, Gen. T.R.R. Cobb was instrumental in writing the Confederate Constitution, which is patterned on the Federal Constitution with some key changes that many Constitutional scholars consider to be significant improvements on the original. Among the changes is a limit to federal spending without a super majority of Congress approving. It also give the President one six-year term and allows him to exercise a line item veto.

The Commerce United Daughters branch is having a dedication at Hebron Presbyterian Church on April 21 at 1 p.m. The program will include an escort of Confederate re-enactors in uniform and carrying period weapons.

Here in Madison County, the local Sons of Confederate Veterans will have a wreath laying and living history at the Confederate monument in Colbert. Activities will continue throughout the day. If you want to know more about your Confederate ancestors, come by and talk to the camp members and re-enactors.

There will be a good supply of documents and information about the War of Northern Aggression and the over 400 Madison County men who were members of the Confederate Army and Navy.

If you are unable to attend any of the memorial events, then turn to the Internet where you can find numerous pages devoted to Southern history and heritage.

However you can do it, I urge you to use Confederate Memorial Day as an opportunity to lean more about our history and heritage. Don’t let the politically correct crowd deprive you of your heritage. Join those of us who have adopted the slogan: “American by Birth, Southern by the Grace of God!”

Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is frank@frankgillispie.com. His website can be accessed at http://www.frankgillispie.com/gillispieonline.

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