SCV Response to the VA
(Elm Springs, TN) September 1st, 2016 – The Sons of Confederate Veterans are saddened to learn that, once again, the history of this great country has come under attack and on this occasion by our own government in Washington DC. After congress rejected a change in the policy which allows the display of Confederate flags on fixed polls in national cemeteries for Memorial Day, and Confederate Memorial Day, the President of the United States took unilateral legislative action- which Article II of the US constitution does not allow- and changed this policy himself. Given that Article I of the constitution delegates legislative authority only to congress, this action is a flagrant usurpation of undelegated power under our constitution.
Like their colonial fathers before them, the Confederate soldier fought to defend his home and his rights against an unlawful and unprovoked invasion by union forces. These men stood on the principals set forth in our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain which recognizes that “we are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights”, that government’s only legitimate function is the protection of these rights, and that “whenever government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish that government” and institute a new government more suiting to their safety and happiness. By any logical measure of American founding philosophy, the Confederate soldier must be regarded as a patriot in the same sense that titans of America’s founding such as Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson and Henry are regarded as patriots.
And yet, it has been unilaterally declared by a non-legislative office within our governing system that these men are no longer worthy of such recognition. Even worse, their hallowed memories are being insulted and besmirched to the extent that their sacred banner, the flag that they marched and died under, can no longer, according to new rules governing the VA, adorn their final resting place in our national cemeteries. This should be correctly regarded as an insult in the highest sense of the word to each of the millions of descendants of these venerable and patriotic men.
There was a time in our country when American history was revered, and when our heroes, both North and South, were paid their due respects. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, for one example, recognized that “we need to understand that at the time of the War between the States the issue of secession had remained unresolved for more than 70 years. Men of probity, character, public standing and unquestioned loyalty, both North and South, had disagreed over this issue as a matter of principle from the day our Constitution was adopted.“ He spoke of General Robert E. Lee saying that “From deep conviction, I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the Nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.”
From such a view, respect, unity and healing between the varying sections and peoples of our union can grow and prosper. But, when the ancestors of our Southern population are derided and scorned, when one demographic within our country is insulted with humiliating actions leveled against their forefathers, such behavior only serves to exacerbate and widen the very division our federal government was constitutionally enacted in 1788 to mend.
Moreover, our organization fears that attacks on our history, attempts to eradicate the last vestiges of American heroes from public view, will not cease with the Confederate dead or their banner. It is already apparent that the effort to erase American history is not limited to violating the Confederate Flag, as attacks on other long-recognized symbols of liberty and the rule of law, such as the Stars and Stripes have come under attack. Just this week it is reported by media outlets that the U.S. Flag was banned at a South Carolina High School due to the “potential” for offending some people. If reports are accurate, High School administrators actually denied students’ display of the Stars and Stripes. Is it the mission of some in our government to strip Americans of their very identity? Are we being guided to a soulless, hollow non-culture reminiscent of the most depraved despotisms in world history? Are we even living in America any longer?
As our charter states, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is a patriotic organization. As such, we respect and revere the history and Heritage of our country and we undertake to see that history preserved for future generations. We ask that all patriotic Americans fly the Confederate Flags and the United States Flags in honor of the soldiers and families which have sacrificed so greatly for the rights afforded our citizens and the great republican form of government our founding fathers established under the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, we ask that our representatives in Congress exercise their power to correct this deplorable action taken against our ancestors. This undertaking stands in defamation of the memory of those of all generations who have served to uphold the founding principles that made our country a beacon of freedom and liberty. In a just society, such instances must be corrected.
Thos. V. Strain Jr. 75th Commander-in-Chief Sons of Confederate VeteransSCV PR - SCV Response to the VA