Current State of the SCV
The SCV seems to be in ever increasing turmoil. There’s so much confusion as to where we should stand on many issues, with each side declaring their point of view to be correct and the other side to be in direct opposition to the Charge. As even a child can see, it simply isn’t possible for both sides to be right. The current points of contention are:
- The recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the (Yankee) flag.
- The presence of a United States (Yankee) flag in Camp Meetings, or buildings.
- The civility between descendants of Yankees and descendants of Confederates.
Now, to be very clear, I personally believe that the Pledge should not ever be recited at any SCV event, that no Yankee flag should ever be on the soil of an SCV meeting room or building, and that no Yankee should be welcome to our meetings or festivities. I don’t agree with the round table attitude and never will. But on the same hand, historically it isn’t all black and white. I’m trying to look at the other side of the coin. I’m not representing the ideals below, but I am trying my best to understand them with an open mind. I don’t care where you stand on the issues, without seeing both sides, none of us will be able to move forward.
- With regard to the recitation of the Pledge, it didn’t exist in the times of the United Confederate Veterans, so nothing can be said as to whether they would or would not have approved, other than their general attitude toward other similar Yankee customs and practices, so I won’t touch on this at all.
- With regard to the presence of a Yankee flag in Camp Meetings or buildings, there is a precedent. I produce for you only one such example of a meeting of United Confederate Veterans in which the Yankee flag was unfurled along with our beloved Confederate flag. I hear people saying that our ancestors would roll over in their graves at the sight, and yet here it is, historical documentation that at least some of them, had no problem with it whatsoever.
- With regard to the civility between descendants of Yankees and descendants of Confederates, it is said that our ancestors would have nothing to do with them nor act gentlemanly toward them as it would in essence be saying that the wholesale rape, torture, murder of our ancestors wives and children, and the destruction of our lands etc. was OK. And yet, surviving veterans of both sides came together annually, and shook hands as gentlemen.
Again, I am not suggesting one way or another. If my personal convictions are to be known, they are that the Pledge should not ever be recited at any SCV event, that no Yankee flag should ever be on the soil of an SCV meeting room or building, and that no Yankee should be welcome to our meetings or festivities. I don’t agree with the round table attitude and never will. But I cannot with confidence say that ALL of our ancestors felt the same way, as historical photographs quite clearly prove just the opposite. There are two sides to every coin, and it isn’t all black and white. We shouldn’t, as an organization, let these issues divide us. We should stand for what we believe without compromise in our own camps, and behave with civility and decency to our brothers and fellow compatriots regardless of their opinions. We don’t all share a common faith, and yet we haven’t splintered into Baptist SCV, Methodist SCV, Jewish SCV, Catholic SCV etc. We can hold different ideals, and still be brothers. What unites us is our devotion to the memory of our ancestors, and our common Charge. If our UCV fathers didn’t see a problem with these things (2 and 3), then we shouldn’t argue and fight with our compatriots over them. Let’s focus on what unites us, and find ways to keep the charge, together.
A few quotes:
“I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South its dearest rights. But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and I have never seen the day when I did not pray for them.” – Robert E. Lee
“We have fought this fight as long, and as well as we know how. We have been defeated. For us as a Christian people, there is now but one course to pursue. We must accept the situation.” – Robert E. Lee
“The interests of the State are therefore the same as those of the United States. Its prosperity will rise or fall with the welfare of the country. The duty of its citizens, then, appears to me too plain to admit of doubt. All should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of war, and to restore the blessings of peace. They should remain, if possible, in the country; promote harmony and good feeling; qualify themselves to vote; and elect to the State and general Legislatures wise and patriotic men, who will devote their abilities to the interests of the country, and the healing of all dissensions. I have invariably recommended this course since the cessation of hostilities, and have endeavored to practice it myself.” – Robert E. Lee in a letter to former Virginia governor John Letcher
In closing, I leave you with only a postcard image of the Louisianan annual reunion for the United Confederate Veterans to ponder. It bears both flags, and shows a grey cuffed hand and a blue cuffed hand shaking, surrounded by the olive wreath of peace.
Submitted by South Kansas Camp #2064:
From the 5th UCV Convention: Greetings and good will from the Department of Indiana, Grand Army of the Republic. One country, in fraternity under one flag. DANIEL R. LUCAS, Commander.
Great applause greeted the reading; and on motion Gen. Lee was requested to make suitable reply. Gen. Mickie immediately sent the following :
DANIEL R. LUCAS, Commander Department of Indiana, Grand Army of the Republic. The United Confederate Veterans, in Convention assembled, accept in the greatest cordiality the kindly greetings you send; and direct me, by the most enthusiastic vote, to express their appreciation. We too feel that this country is one country with one flag, which we and our sons are ready to defend with our lives.
STEPHEN D. LEE, General Commanding