Let Your Watchword be “Heritage, not Hate!”

Post date: May 11, 2017 6:36:16 PM

Heritage, not hate! Most of us have seen the bumper sticker. The battle for America's soul boiled down to three words and an explanation mark.

Heritage has always been very important to me. I am a proud American; I served my country as an active duty U.S. Marine, honorably discharged in 1978.

I am a proud Kentuckian; born in Morganfield, descended from blue collar Salt- of-the-earth types (farmers, coal miners, construction workers, etc.). I am a proud former resident of Texas, a state known for its proud spirit of freedom and independence. (and, yes, big egos). These are the places and the cultures that have contributed to who I am. I guess that's why I value heritage so much.

One of the definitions of heritage is “relating to things of historic or cultural value that are worthy of being preserved.” Note especially the words “historic” and “cultural.”

I have had a love of history since I first studied American history in the fourth grade. As a recruit in Marine boot camp at Parris Island, SC, I was introduced to the colorful and proud history of the Corps, and lovingly embraced it.

In fact, it was more than just history, as important as that is. The Marine Corps instilled a culture in its recruits, one of honor, devotion, and pride.

This culture was captured in a book written by Captain Marion F. Sturkey, a Marine helicopter pilot in Vietnam, entitled Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines.

Concerning my Kentucky heritage and history, I drew from Daniel Boone a love of the land and freedom, and from Jefferson Davis a love of noble character and service to my God and fellow man.

Concerning my Texas residency of over three decades, and its culture and history, I can say the same. It epitomizes the spirit of freedom and independence under God.

There is another influence in my life that I've yet to mention that represents who I am. In importance, it follows only my relationship with Jesus Christ, His Church, and my wife and family. It's a non-racial, non-sectarian, non-profit veteran's educational organization known as Sons of Confederate Veterans.

I know that for many Americans today, there is unfortunately a knee-jerk reaction to anything Confederate, due to ignorance of historical fact. Long-standing myth concerning the War for Southern independence (erroneously referred to as a civil war) has for too long replaced historical fact. The definition of “myth” that applies here is “a widely held but false belief.”

Some of these widely held but false beliefs are that race relations were better in the North than in the South, that cruel treatment of slaves was the norm, that the South was fighting for the cause of slavery, and that the plight of most former slaves was better after the war. None of these things is true, yet many Americans have been taught to believe these things.

What is the solution? In one word, read! And not just anything. Read first-hand accounts written at the time or shortly after by the people who lived it. You would be amazed at how the truth is far different from what is generally accepted and taught.

One book you might start with is The Slave Narratives, an official United States document put together during the Great Depression using testimonies from some of the last surviving slaves of the Old South. There is also a book called Official Record: War of the Rebellion, another official report of the United States concerning the War for Southern independence.

Contrary to popular belief, you will find more than seventy percent of these accounts giving a positive view of the relationship between slaves and masters as close and respectful. Not quite the view you get from Uncle Tom's Cabin, a fictional work.

Just for the record, I am not advocating slavery. What I am advocating is that accurate and fair and complete historical fact be communicated and taught.

We just came out of April, which is, among other things, Confederate History Month. I bet you didn't hear about that on your local or national newscast! Nor did you probably hear about the historical significance of it in school.

We are now in May, a month in which we celebrate both Armed Forces Day (May 20th) and Memorial Day (May 29th). Did you know that Confederate Veterans have been recognized by The United States government as equivalents to Union Veterans by law, the most recent being U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410 approved 23rd May, 1958?

I'm a member of Sons of Confederate Veterans because I consider it an honor and a privilege and important, to educate my fellow Americans, Kentuckians, Texans and Veterans as to who these brave and noble Confederate soldiers were and what they stood for.

They loved and sacrificed for God, home, family, self-determined government, and freedom. To smear their good name, and spit out the name Confederate as if it's a curse word and the epitome of evil, is a disgrace and the greatest of injustices. It's high time the true account of history is told. The truth will set you free!

I want to ask you this, as we come upon Memorial Day and the tradition of honoring servicemen at Arlington National Cemetery, do you realize that the sacred ground there was property of General Robert E. Lee, unlawfully seized by the federal government during the War for Southern independence? There are those today in New Orleans and other places who in the name of diversity or political correctness would eliminate any and all trace of part of history. Diversity as I understand it is giving a wide view of all cultural beliefs. Picking and choosing is called bigotry or racism.

Seek the complete and accurate history. Don't settle for and spread myths of so-called history. Heritage, not hate!