Recently I visited a small cemetery where a small white pointed marble stone marked the grave of a soldier of long ago. If that Confederate soldier beneath the stone could speak, what would he say? I'd imagine he'd say:
"Where are those who will remember the sacrifice that I made? Why is there no flag to mark my grave? Does anyone today remember the bravery, patriotism, and devotion to duty of my fellow soldiers and me?
"In times past, every April 26, my service and my sacrifice were remembered. Flowers and a flag were placed on my grave, and mayors, governors, veterans and even the president sang the praises of me and my fellow soldiers.
"Not too far away, there are rounded marble stones and bronze markers marking the graves of soldiers who fought and died in past and more recent wars. Their graves are marked with the flag under which they fought, and every May, elected officials, dignitaries, and a host of others attend ceremonies which honor these soldiers' dedication and bravery.
"I am grateful that they are remembered, but I just don't understand why we who wore the gray are neglected. Why am I treated differently than these Americans? Like these men, I was only a young man when I answered the call. I left my family when my state called on me to take up arms in its defense. My uncles, cousins, and brothers did the same.
"We were just poor farmers struggling to make a living and raising our families. We cherished peace, but, like our Revolutionary ancestors, we felt the freedom to govern ourselves was threatened when our state was invaded. Though we did not achieve our independence, not long after that war, we were remembered by the Southern people. The soldiers who survived struggled to restore prosperity and national unity.
"Eventually we became part of the American legacy of military prowess, and every April we were honored - at least this was true until the last 30 years or so. Why is it different now? Are Americans today too busy to remember us?"
Dr. Arnold M. Huskins
Major, USAF (retired)
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