April is Confederate History and Heritage Month

Published 9:33 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April is Confederate History and Heritage Month in the state of Alabama, proclaimed by the governor of the state of Alabama and the Alabama State Board of Education. More than 100,000 Alabamians served the Confederate States of America and more than 30,000 Alabamians gave their lives defending the republic and the Constitution as was established and framed by the founding fathers.

Historically, Confederate Memorial Day is April 26 recognized in the State of Alabama by a legislative act in 1901, but now Alabama officially observes the day on the fourth Monday in April.

The observance of this day began with the ladies across the south as early as during the War Between the States; however, one observance was documented in April 1866 when the Ladies Memorial Association in Raleigh, North Carolina planned a processional from the town square along with their friends and family to carry their wreaths, garlands and flowers tot eh cemetery to pay homage to their fallen Confederate loved ones.

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The U.S. military police in Raleigh, with bayonet muskets, threatened to fire upon anyone who attempted to participate in the processional to the cemetery. Under dripping April skies and mud up to their ankles, the ladies proceeded to march to the cemetery. Not a shot was fired upon these courageous ladies of the south who were determined to honor their loved ones who had served so valiantly in their quest to preserve the Constitution and defend their homeland; thus April was declared Confederate Memorial Day across the South.

However, some Southern states observe May 10 as Confederate Memorial Day — the date that Stonewall Jackson died after being mortally wounded in Chancellorsville.

For many years in Selma, local merchants closed their businesses and local schools participated in the annual observance of Confederate Memorial Day by marching in the processional to Live Oak Cemetery at the Confederate Monument in Confederate Memorial Circle for a special commemorative program, always hosted by Selma Chapter 53, United Daughters of the Confederacy. Local high school bands played and the students participated in the program.

In 1868, U.S. General Logan was so impressed by this dedicated observance by the ladies of the south that he declared May 31 as National Memorial Day. So, as it was, National Memorial Day in this country today is a result of the dedication and courage of the ladies of the south as they dedicated their faithful ≈remembrance of their fallen Confederate heroes.

On Tuesday, Selma Chapter 53, UDC and Col. C.C. Pegues Camp 62, SCV hosted the Annual Confederate Memorial Day Service at Confederate Memorial Circle in Live Oak Cemetery. Past National Chaplain in Chief, Pastor John Weaver of Firzgerald, Georgia was the keynote speaker. The Ladies Memorial Association/Selma Chapter 53, UDC has been hosting this event since 1877.
Pat Godwin