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Confederates honor in service

A small but enthusiastic group gathered at the Confederate Monument in downtown Troy Monday afternoon to celebrate Confederate Memorial Day.

The Confederate flag flapped lazily as

"Dixie" was strummed and sung and the words that were spoken were those of pride in those who fought and died for a cause they believed was just.

Ronnie Simmons, Sons of Confederate Veterans past division commander, told the gathering that the men who fought for the Gray were engaged in a life and death struggle.

"They were fighting for their homes, for Constitutional liberty and the national existence of the Confederate States," Simmons said. "Our ancestors were protecting their homes and families from an invading army. They were being invaded and conquered."

Simmons said, when Robert E. Lee resigned his commission, he did so with the words, "I will defend Virginia, my country."

"Our ancestors fought to defend the state of Alabama and we should take great pride in their commitment," he said. "We are here today because we have been challenged to vindicate the cause for which they fought and died. They had nothing to be ashamed of and we should be proud of them. The driving force of their commitment was love of God, country and family."

Reginald Taylor, of Dothan, was the guest speaker for the Confederate Memorial Day Ceremony.

Unlike Simmons, Taylor has no ancestry to trace to the battlefields of the Civil War.

As an African American, he is also an "unlikely" speaker at such a gathering but Taylor believes that the black men who fought for the Confederacy should not be forgotten.

"I've never seen an account of where a gun was put to a slave's head to make him fight for the South," Taylor said. "They fought because they were also fighting for their homes and their families. They fought beside their masters. We should never forget the sacrifice these men made for the love of God, county and family."

The Sons of Confederate Veterans Pvt. Augustus Braddy Camp No. 385, Troy, sponsored the ceremony.

Lt. Camp Commander John Hutchenson expressed appreciation to the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The UDC was responsible f expressed appreciation to the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The UDC was responsible for the erection of the Confederate monument, which stands as a sentinel against another invasion from the north.

Plaques, affixed to the monument, contain the names of 2,963 Confederate veterans who were Pike County residents or who settled in the county after the war.

Time has taken its toll on the brass plaques making it difficult, if not impossible to read the names. Knowing that the SCV had been challenged with the vindication of the cause and the men who fought for it, the Augustus Braddy Camp, the members felt it was their responsibility to make sure the names of the Confederate veterans would not be "erased by time."

"A few years ago, during Troy's downtown revitalization program, our Confederate monument was one of the first landmarks to be restored," Hutchenson said. "The project was undertaken and subsidized by the Order of the Southern Cross, a branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

"Since then, time and weather conditions have obscured the information inscribed on the plates. The Augustus Braddy Camp has addressed the problem. Today, we proudly present to the citizens of Troy and Pike County these beautifully restored tablets to once again clearly identify and honor our Confederate ancestors."

Hutchenson said funds for the restoration of the plaques were raised by the sale of tag plate covers and stickers.

"We plan to have the plate redone every three or four year so that people can find the names of their ancestors when they come to view the monument," he said. "We invite everyone to come down and see the work that has been done. Those who have ancestors who fought for the Confederacy will want to locate their names. To have an ancestor on this monument is something we can take great pride in."

The Troy Public Library has resources available to assist in the research of names of Confederate veterans.