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Confederate soldiers honored for defending homes and freedom ^ | April 26, 2004 | ANNE RUISI

Posted on 04/27/2004 6:25:14 AM PDT by stainlessbanner

Southerners who fought for the Confederacy were men who defended their homes and their freedom, not slavery, said Briarwood Presbyterian Church pastor the Rev. Harry Reeder.

"They fought for the freedoms and rights of the states (as set out) in the Constitution," said Reeder at a Confederate Memorial Day service Sunday at Forest Hill Cemetery. "Most of them were there to defend the rights of their country."

Reeder, who said he counts six great-great-grandfathers as Confederate soldiers, was the keynote speaker at the event, hosted by Birmingham-based Sons of Confederate Veterans Forrest Camp #1435.

About 40 people, some in Sunday dress and others more casual in T-shirts stamped with images commemorating Dixie and Robert E. Lee, attended the memorial service at the cemetery's Confederate Rest.

Confederate Rest, an oval-shaped plot marked by an obelisk and the graves of 13 soldiers, is maintained by the Forrest Camp, said the group's adjutant, James F. Shackleford III of Trussville. Members took over plot maintenance, replacing broken headstones with new granite markers provided by the Veterans Administration.

On Sunday, large versions of the Stars and Stripes and the Forrest Camp's personalized Confederate battle flag were planted on either side of the obelisk, with smaller Confederate flags on each veteran's grave.

No symbol of hate:

In his remarks, Reeder said that battle flag is not an emblem of hate, and that he gets angry when people exploit it as a racist symbol. He said people can best honor the flag and the soldiers by living up to the best ideals they represented.

A deep boom resonated over the rolling hilltop as Confederate re-enactors fired a final salute with a 2½-inch Napoleon cannon. The men of Selden's Battery, clad in gray wool, their uniforms trimmed in the distinctive red designating an artillery unit, brought the service to an end.

Light rain fell. As the crowd dispersed, Stacey Hocutt of Bradford said she wanted to bring her three children and two nephews to join other family members remembering those who served. "I came in honor of the soldiers and to pay my respects to them," said Hocutt, whose great-great grandfather, Toby Smith of Warrior, enlisted in 1861.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: confederate; dixie; heritage; history; honor

1 posted on 04/27/2004 6:25:15 AM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner
They fought for their state, not slavery. Most of the big ship owners who sold the slaves were Northerners.
2 posted on 04/27/2004 8:29:05 AM PDT by Dante3
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