Cemetery tour offers history lesson

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 25, 2005

The past came alive at Old Live Oak Cemetery on Sunday morning during a special memorial ceremony honoring the Confederate veterans buried there.

Sitting atop his white steed, Gen. Bill Rambo gave a brief history of each noteworthy Confederate as he led a tour though the cemetery.

Flaked by uniformed reenactors, ladies in hoop shirts, and 21st Century guests, Rambo explained the importance of learning about the lives of these soldiers.

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“People wonder why we care so much,” Rambo said. “It’s because (the Civil War) was fought here. We can look at a place where grandma said ‘this is where they fought. This is where they burned down the house and took our silverware.’ We have to remember people like Rev. Arthur Small (minister buried at Old Live Oak who fought in the Civil War) who fought to defend their homeland.”

At each stop on the graveyard tour, after Rambo told the crowd about the life of the Confederate, a single cannon shot would fill the air.

When the tour came to an end at the statute of Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Confederate monument, the reenactors loaded their rifles and fired as a show of respect.

“I don’t care how you feel about him, this man was incredible,” Rambo said. “Everybody should read about him. Forrest was a soldier by instinct. He started the War as a private, but his leadership ability showed through. By the end of the war, he had killed 30 men.”

During the memorial service, Philip Davis of Montgomery was invited to be the guest speaker.

Davis, portraying as a 19th Century Southern sympathizer, told the crowd that by simply being in the South, they were on

“holy ground.”

“Today we are about to watch a battle that was fought by soldiers duped by politicians,” he said. “Yankees don’t know what war is about, but they are about to find out if they keep running things the way they are.”

Davis ended his speech by telling the reenactors that they must educate future generations about the South’s past.

“Go fourth with your lives and honor the men you are portraying,” Davis told the reenactors. “They fought with guns, sticks and stones, and we have to fight with intelligence and endurance.”

The morning memorial service ended with the reenactors marching back the Battle of Selma site to prepare for the afternoon’s big event.