Confederate Memorial Day honors all who served

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Features Editor

No one made any apologies Monday for flying the Confederate flag. No one made any apologies for singing Dixie and no one made any apologies for remembering those who fought for the gray.

The annual Confederate Memorial Day ceremony held on the square in Troy was sparsely attended, and, some said there should have been some apologies for that, but those in attendance made no apologies for being there.

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"Those who fought for the gray were men who wanted to take care of their children or their mamas," said

Ronnie Simmons, past division commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "They were men who wanted to take care of their crops and be left alone. But, they took up arms and fought for a cause that was right. We don’t need to apologize for them. I’m proud of those who went out and fought. I’m proud of those who wore the gray."

Simmons was the guest speaker at the Confederate Memorial Day Ceremony and said tribute should be made to all of those who fought for the Confederacy.

"They were all Confederate soldiers," he said. "Regardless of race or religion, they all wore the gray and they should be honored."

Simmons said there were those of Jewish faith who fought for the Confederacy. There were many blacks who chose to fight for the South and some women. A black man, who was fighting for the Confederacy, was captured by Union soldiers, Simmons said, and the Union soldiers asked him why he was fighting for the South.

"He told them that he had a right to fight for his country," Simmons said. "The South was his country and he was willing to take up arms to defend it. And, there were accounts of women who disguised themselves as men and fought for their South. Five women were among the Confederate causalities at Gettysburg. These men and women fought – and died – with honor. We must honor them."

Simmons said Jefferson Davis was asked why he fought for the gray and he said he did it because it was "right."

"The South had a right to withdraw from the union if it so chose," he said. "It was their right, but they had to fight for that right. The South had no government, no postal service, no army, no transportation system, but they fought because it was right and we honor those men and women here today, because it is right."