The South Endures on Confederate Veterans Day
The War Between the States ended over one hundred forty years ago, but the legacy of its history lives on to this day. The flag of the Confederacy still flies over many homes, businesses and public properties everywhere, a testament to Southern pride and loyalty.
Various southern states have long been in favor of proclaiming a Confederate Veterans Day in honor of the soldiers, leaders and political figures who supported Southern rights during that long, bloody war, though the tradition has not caught on in great numbers. Even if the day is not declared a national holiday, there are a vast number of Southern political figures and supporters that would like, at the very least, for school children to learn about the military figures and political leaders of the south during that difficult period of American history. Today, honoring such veterans is also commonly known as Confederate Memorial Day, and is observed at different times in various southern states, depending on the veteran or southern political leader who happens to hail from each particular state.
During the years leading up to the Civil War, the country endured growing pains. After all, the United States was less than one hundred years old. States’ rights conflicted with federal beliefs and regulations, which ultimately brought the country to the brink of a crucial test. While the issue of slavery and the right to own slaves was at the basis of the disagreement that eventually split the United States in half, issues of states’ rights to govern themselves without interference of the federal government was also put to the test.
The Civil War broke out in 1861 and ended in 1865, after losses of vast numbers of men who fought for both the North and the South. It has long been accepted, and understood, that both Northern and Southern points of view are an important lesson for Americans to remember. America was founded on individual and national freedom, and for all Americans, the right to choose is a time honored tradition and way of life. Many great leaders came from the South, a testament that their Northern brothers could well attest to. Many generals enjoyed long and close relationships before the tensions of war forced them to choose sides and represent their native states.
In the Southern states, Confederate Veteran’s Day is a day when Johnny Reb’s are honored and saluted for their devotion and loyalty to the Southern Cause. While the harsh feelings brought about the war slowly mended over generations, Southerners still feel an immense sense of pride in their soldiers and honor their memory on this day. Flowers and small Confederate flags are placed on the graves of Civil War veterans and local events serve to keep their memory alive. Though the day is not considered a national holiday, Southerners nevertheless observe the day in their own way, which they have been doing since 1865.
The War Between the States was a difficult time for all Americans who were forced to choose between loyalty to their state or allowing a federal government to determine the course of their future. The history of issues that culminated in the War Between the States is long and complicated, but one thing is for certain. Every soldier who fought in that war, for North or South, considered himself or herself an American.
The memory of those who dared to fight, and die, for what they believed in, is strongly honored in the South to this day. Confederate Veterans Day is meant to serve as a reminder that all Americans, despite beliefs or heritage, deserve the right to have a say in how they are governed.