Local group gathers to honor Confederate veterans
January 19 is General Robert E. Lee’s birthday, and Texas Confederate Heroes Day. In observance, a group of local confederate descendants gathered to remember the southern soldiers that fought in the Civil War.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans held a ceremony at Fairview Cemetery on and paid their respects to the 40 Confederate soldiers who are buried there.
“We are a heritage organization only,” Ray Johnson, Commander of the Tom Green Camp said. “We’re here to recognize our Confederate dead. Our ancestors. We want to teach other generations, and keep their good names alive.”
Sons of Confederate Veterans is a national organization, with chapters in Midland, San Angelo, and Iraan.
“Back then lots of people saw themselves as citizens of their state before citizens of the United States,” Joshua Hutchins said. “So when they saw an invading army coming, they felt it was their duty to take up arms against it.”
Hutchins is only 18 years old, but is in charge of Midland’s Dunn-Holt-Midkiff Camp. He ensures that the group remains non-political and anti-racist.
“We don’t tolerate any members of hate groups or anything like that,” Hutchins said. “It’s something we see as counterproductive to progress as a nation, and to the symbols that have been hijacked by certain hate groups. And we don’t want that because it is our heritage and we want to be able to wave it as much as we want without someone thinking we’re a racist.”
While some organizations around the country try to remove confederate symbols and monuments, the Sons of Confederate Veterans want people to remember why those things exist in the first place.
“A lot of these monuments were put up by the soldiers who fought, and by their children and wives and sisters,” Hutchins said. “They were trying to memorialize what they had done. Not necessarily what the war was fought for, but the actions of the individual soldier and what they sacrificed.”
Most group members dressed in Confederate uniform. The ceremony included volley fire and cannon blasts, as well as the singing of Dixie.