As most avid history buffs know, this coming week will mark the 154th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
This major battle was fought from July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The Southern Army had invaded the north in an attempt to shorten the war. For three years, the forces of the opposing sides had slugged it out in bloody conflict resulting in the loss of many men. Lee felt that if he could threaten Washington, he would be able to force Lincoln into negotiating for a peaceful settlement.
Just as Lee was determined to bring about a brokered peace, the Union Army was determined to stop him and continue to bring the Union back together. The resulting battles and significant losses are still impactful in today’s history. The small town was overcome in its aftermath with the results of the carnage and the cemetery that was dedicated by President Lincoln is a place of honor and distinction that symbolizes the sacrifices and passion of the men involved.
In his famous address he said:
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
The country was divided and the threat to survival was real
Similar to that time, there is a growing divide within our country once again.
A president was elected that represented many things offensive to a large group of its citizens. While no states have yet succeeded, there is a large and well orchestrated movement within the country that has called for Resistance. At the fringe of this movement is a group that calls itself Antifa. This group is loosely affiliated so far but they have managed to make a name for themselves as the newest version of home grown terrorists. Typically seen wearing the cowardly garb of masked thugs, these spoiled and privileged over pampered misfits destroy people’s property, damage public places and generally make a nuisance for the police.
Some of them have decided to throw their tantrums at Gettysburg this week. Their aim: to further the leftist goal of eradicating the Confederate Battle Flag which was also the second flag of the Confederacy known as the Stainless Banner. The stated intent is to burn Confederate flags on hallowed ground. This is in keeping with other movements in the South to destroy or hide other symbols of the war between the states. New Orleans notably has forfeited her birth rights by the removal of the proud symbols of men of courage.
Don’t misunderstand. I realize that there has been uses of certain symbols by openly racists groups. It is a sick thing to support anything the Clan or other known hate groups have projected. I am also not supporting the rebellion itself since the cost to both sides lasted for many generations. My Great Grandfather served on the Union side during that conflict, but I have many friends whose relatives served honorably in the army of the south.
The US Congress even recognized that Confederate soldiers were US Veterans.
Congressional Act of 9 March 1906 ~ We Honor Our Fallen Ancestors
(P.L. 38, 59th Congress, Chap. 631-34 Stat. 56)
This act authorized the furnishing of headstones for the graves of Confederates who died, primarily in Union prison camps and were buried in Federal cemeteries. Remarks: This act formally reaffirmed Confederate soldiers as military combatants with legal standing. It granted recognition to deceased Confederate soldiers commensurate with the status of deceased Union soldiers.
U.S. Public Law 810, Approved by 17th Congress 26 February 1929
(45 Stat 1307 – Currently on the books as 38 U.S. Code, Sec. 2306)
This law, passed by the U.S. Congress, authorized the “Secretary of War to erect headstones over the graves of soldiers who served in the Confederate Army and to direct him to preserve in the records of the War Department the names and places of burial of all soldiers for whom such headstones shall have been erected.”
Remarks: This act broadened the scope of recognition further for all Confederate soldiers to receive burial benefits equivalent to Union soldiers. It authorized the use of U.S. government (public) funds to mark Confederate graves and record their locations.
U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410 Approved 23 May 1958
Confederate Iron Cross (US Statutes at Large Volume 72, Part 1, Page 133-134)
The Administrator shall pay to each person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War a monthly pension in the same amounts and subject to the same conditions as would have been applicable to such person under the laws in effect on December 31, 1957, if his service in such forces had been service in the military or naval forces of the United States.