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Felton Hudson: For a civilization gone with the wind
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Dear editor,

Back in the1950's my sister and I attended the old Covington Grammar school, which stood where the current Covington Police station is located. Back then on every April 26 (remains a Georgia State Holiday) when school was in session, all grade levels were loosely marched to the Old Covington Cemetery which was maybe 500 yards from the school. The route of the procession was extended through downtown where the workers and businessmen and many parents stood watching this memorial to the Confederate dead that reposed in a section of the cemetery.

Many of the students carried flowers to lay upon the markers and many wore white or their Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts' uniforms. Many of us looked forward to these celebrations and strutted our stuff en route. Once gathered at the site, local ministers and dignitaries would extoll at length, often in blazing heat, the courage and sacrifice of the dead who lie for eternity beneath pitifully small markers denoting their name and military units. MANY were without identification-known only to God.

It would be my guess that few, if any, fought in this terrible war to ensure rich plantation owners their right to enslave another human being. In fact I must have missed any lectures that the war was actually fought to maintain slavery, but rather the right to secede from a union they no longer felt to be just and which led to the subsequent invasion by Northern military forces.

Over the years I have maintained a strong appreciation of the South and its commitment to form its own country and to exercise its held opinion of a legal right to breakaway from a government that had created a yoke of oppression they could no longer tolerate. Knowing that my Great Grandfather (35th Regiment of Georgia) had been wounded in the Battle Of Gettysburg during the so-called Pickett's charge, I acquired a real zeal for knowing more about the war-the battles, the Generals and the men who died in so many gory battles over four years. It is especially painful to watch those who now seek to slander the men who fought and died for the rights of a new nation, and compare the Confederate Battle Flag to Nazi emblems. Their ignorance and hate cannot be quantified.

In Margaret Mitchell's novel of the century, which was made into cinema in the late 1930s, the screen writer for the movie, Ben Hecht, summed up Mitchell's novel in a short paragraph... "there was a land of cavaliers and cotton fields called The Old South. Here in this pretty world gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of knights, ladies fair, of master and of slaves. Look for it only in books, for it is a dream remembered, a civilization gone with the wind."

Slavery was dead long before Mitchell ever penned Gone With the Wind. In fact it was dying before the War Between the States was ever fought. For whatever reason one may want to believe the war was fought, both sides fought heroically and died bravely. There isn't the remotest possibility that their courage could ever be replicated for any cause in the world in which we now find ourselves. To sully their honor and willingness to die for a cause they believed in by outlawing their flag, monuments, etc., creates furor not needed. May God turn this nation around and save us from ourselves.

Felton Hudson