Skip to comments.What The Confederate Stranger and A Small Town in Maine Can Teach Us About Human Decency
Posted on 06/21/2016 8:34:50 AM PDT by Kaslin
In 1862, a man named Lt. Charles H. Colley of Gray, ME was killed during the Battle of Cedar Mountain. When his grieving family opened up the casket that was supposed to contain their son, they were stunned to discover that a fully uniformed Confederate soldier had been shipped to them instead. Having no way to identify the soldier, and also lacking the means to ship him back to Virginia, Lt. Colley's family decided to bury him in Gray Village Cemetery alongside the Union soldiers who had been killed in the war. They figured that this unknown Confederate's family would appreciate the gesture, even though they'd never find out about it. The Ladies of Gray, a group of mothers whose sons were either missing, injured, or killed in the war, paid to put up a headstone for this unknown Confederate.
The headstone's inscription is simple and gut-wrenching: "Stranger. A soldier of the late war. Erected by the Ladies of Gray."
For the first 90-something years after Stranger's most unexpected arrival in Maine, his headstone was treated the same as all of the other veterans buried at the cemetery. Since 1956, however, a Confederate battle flag has been placed next to Stranger's gravesite each Memorial Day--a pop of solid red amidst a sea of American flags.
This past Father's Day, while visiting family back in my home state of Maine, I had the chance to pay a visit to the Confederate Stranger's grave, and seeing the stone was a very sobering experience. Gray sent more people to fight for the Union Army per capita than any small town in Maine, and nearly 200 of them didn't get to come home. The people of Gray, especially mothers whose sons could have been shot at or killed by Stranger, had every right to have simply buried Stranger in an unmarked grave in a field somewhere in the town. It would have been completely understandable--this person was, after all, an enemy soldier during a time of war. Instead, they recognized their shared humanity with this unknown man, and buried him alongside local heroes and treated him like one of their own.
Which brings me to today. While the nation certainly isn't as polarized as it was during the 1860s, the situation is pretty bad. People are going out of their way to isolate themselves in a bubble of only their own views. Take a look at what people are saying on Facebook about people they once called their friends: (language warning)
We've come a long way from 1862, but not entirely in a good way. People are quick to use a person's political beliefs to define them as a person, when in reality, politics are just a piece of the puzzle that makes people, people. We're all different, and somehow in the last 150 years it has become acceptable to completely remove someone from your life (or ask them to remove themselves) because of political differences. That's insane.
As a society, we should look to the actions of the Ladies of Gray for inspiration on how to behave with decency and respect in times of fighting and conflict. In 1862, America was at a war with itself--it doesn't get more polarized than that. If the Ladies of Gray could find it within themselves to create and maintain a dignified memorial to a man who was quite literally trying to kill their sons before he died, there's no excuse for the rest of us to not get along.
This election cycle has been a doozy, there's no denying that. The rhetoric being spewed by both sides is borderline nasty, and we're a nation divided once again. Despite this, it's important to remember that we have more commonalities than differences--and that through it all, we're all still human beings...regardless of who receives our vote in November.
A forlorn hope, at best. There are still an immense amount of resources here, and they would come, and conquer, for those alone...
Sorry, I don’t buy it. The Marxists are flat out evil, and anyone who sides with them is either evil as well, or profoundly stupid.
I can forgive the stupid, but only if they acknowledge their stupidity and get out of the way so smarter people can fix their mistakes. Until then, I’m lumping them in with the evil people they serve.
wardaddy, they will probably arrive at the same time the north-bashing contingent shows up.
Hope the soldier wasn’t baptist. The Southern Baptists have banned possession of the Confederate Battle Flag by their members.
If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong ...
They are nothing but cowards
There is no doubt about it in my mind. They sure are.
Hardee har har.
See my homepage
I’m unaware of a north bashing contingent
LOL, so you have never seen any posts on FR that bash the North?
I saw that on a bumper sticker, lol
He was still an American soldier. I recall walking through the Ft Leavenworth cemetery in 1984 on Memorial Day and looking at all the flags. Then I came upon four graves with Confederate flags. Being from Georgia, my first thought was they are so far from home. This Army Officer saluted them, thought about how brave they must have been and moved on, but as you can see, I have never forgotten those four men. God bless their memories.
And by the way, I am not your enemy here. I am on your side on this type of thing.
It was a different world back then. Everyone felt like an American, ....everyone. Children were taught how to shoot and handle guns safely, even at school or the Boy Scouts, which were welcome back then. I was a member of the NRA shooting club at 10 yo and carried my gun to the abandoned ice house to shoot targets in competition. I still have my jacket full of expert and marksman patches. I've shown it to my daughter that is now 31. She has heard me speak about the US her whole life, yet it seems she can't even imagine a world that thought the way we did then. She has no idea what it was like as she has never had a day when she wasn't in this hellish nightmare we call "modern culture".
As we watch mass shootings today, the "modern culture" ping pongs around from gun control to terrorism, to mental illness, ect. We have so many regulations today that the Second Amendment almost means nothing anymore. As we see here, if the authorities wanted your gun, you are most likely on some obscure list gathered up over the decades. What we are told is if you own a Confederate flag, you are a risk to society. If you are a Christian, you are a danger to abortion clinics and gay bars. If you have a gun, you are liable to go mental some morning and shoot your family and neighbors. What they always seem to miss is it's not guns,...we need better people. The people I grew up with all had guns, yet shootings were rare. There was mental illness, but it was rare. Keeping your baby was a given, because killing it was unthinkable.
What has changed from then till now? God has been removed from society, especially schools. Just a couple of generations since God has been banned and men have gone insane. They can't even decide if they are men or women by looking in their pants. Even apes realize what they are at an early age. We have no respect for life because we have murdered 65 million babies and now are considering killing old people that are no longer productive. We have many people blind to the difference between a "god" that murders Jews, infidels, homosexuals, women, and even others of the same belief, and the real God that loved mankind enough to give His own Son for them.
The bottom line is there is no amount of laws and regulations that can tame an individual full of demons. Banning the Confederate flag won't change any hearts and it boggles the mind that anyone thinks it can. Our system of maximum freedom is based on a religious and moral people. Anarchy is by definition freedom without moral limits. America will never be "America" again unless God is honored and revered and is put first above the "freedom" people seem to think they are due. As we get farther from God, it harder and harder to even find Christians to agree what "Christian" even means. What made America exceptional for over 230 years was the blessing of God, not smart politicians. As we reject God and His wisdom as a nation, there is nothing left but Satan and chaos. Thinking we are somehow different than Israel over thousands of years is ludicrous. Idols and immorality reaps bad kings and destruction and slavery.
Reading Leviticus 18:22-30 pretty much covers what's coming and we follow like lemmings to our own destruction. It has nothing to do with more gun laws. 2 Chron 7:13-22 pretty much spells it out and reveals the answer to the problems. What we need is better people to get less regulation and oppressive laws and to live in the peace of God.
Liberal New York Jew
Damn Yankee liberal
Union Yankee thug
Massachusetts do gooder or Minnesota naive Lutheran Yankee
Yes I do see Yankee bashing but for me it’s reactive to a smal group of race baiting south bashing Neo abolitionists
I cede your point
I try to acknowledge Yankees and good Jews even good Yankee wimmin here
In fact I adore the exceptions and will defend them like their were my own
I lived in Manhattan a long time
I fit right in at Bensonhurst or Bay Ridge
Not so much upper west side
There is a group of GOPe south haters here I’d need rope for a hundred years ago
A short rope
Reunions and reenactments started fairly quickly after the war ended. It was one of the things that healed the nation of its great wounds. There are not many places on this good earth that such would have happened. You can look all over the world and find places where old hatreds are still fanned after many hundreds of years.
It’s one of the things that makes me proud to be an American.
There is a group of GOPe south haters here Id need rope for a hundred years ago””
It isn’t the GOP that has hatred for the South. The South has been vilified by liberals. Demrats, Progressives, Homowood for 50 years, and commie scum.
See my homepage....these are here on this forum
You are also correct
But after Dylan Root....the GOP folded like a cheap tent
Dubya....twang and all detested old south
Just keep in mind, the South has been vilified more by Homowood than any other organization. Go back and look at how the South and the good people that live there are portrayed in movies. It is sickening, it makes me want to puke, and for the record, I don’t live nor am I from the South, but they are my fellow American Patriots.
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