Thursday, April 26 is Confederate Memorial Day in Georgia. Unfortunately, the day is often ignored by the media and forgotten by most citizens.
Because of political correctness and the fear of possibly offending others, there will be no politicians or public officials attending events to remember their service.
Sadly, Confederate soldiers are probably the most misunderstood and disregarded veterans in American society. Not unlike our military today, these men felt the same patriotism when their state called them to duty. Identifying themselves as being primarily Georgians or South Carolinians and secondarily as Americans, they were familiar with the doctrine of secession, for it was considered a political right and considered by the New England states during the War of 1812. Like their Revolutionary forefathers, they felt they were fighting for home, family and independence.
Most Confederate soldiers were poor farmers and had no interest in slavery. Slavery was legal in the North and in the South, and there was no threat to its existence in any state when the war began.
As the war progressed, in an effort to prevent recognition of the Confederacy by foreign powers, the Union made abolition of slavery one of its war aims. Confederate soldiers knew that the British had adopted the same tactic during the Revolution to further their cause.
Though most of them were of Anglo-Saxon descent, among their numbers were Native Americans or recent immigrants, including Jews, Hispanics and even African-Americans. Their military prowess, heroism and bravery was proven on many bloody battlefields and later became a source of pride to most Southerners and the US military - at least until the mid 20th century.
After the war, most Confederate soldiers pledged allegiance to the Union and lived peaceful and productive lives. Their respective states provided pensions to everyone who served, including African-Americans.
In the 1920s, Congress officially acknowledged them as "American veterans." These veterans would send their sons to fight imperialism in World War I, and their grandsons to combat tyranny in World War II. They left us a legacy of bravery, devotion to duty and self-sacrifice. Their service should be remembered.
Dr. Arnold M. Huskins
Major, USAF (retired)
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