The Civil War News & Views Open Discussion Forum

A Letter To Grandfather

A Letter To Grandfather

I am writing to beg your forgiveness. I have done a terrible thing. I had no intention of letting these matters get out of hand, but they did. I pray that you will forgive me and ask the Lord for guidance in these troubling times.

See, back only four or five years ago, there was still support for things Confederate and for the fond memory of men like you. There were organizations in place to defend your good name and remember the deeds you had done, and to honor the sacrifices you made. But I like others failed to support them and now it is too late.

Now the Battle Flag is outlawed in public. You can not find one in school or town. There are no Southern Crosses flying on any flag poles anymore. I could remember a few years ago they were flying on city, county, and state government buildings. Very few even dare to keep them at home for fear of losing their job or being arrested. We now have a state-approved flag which is more universal. All flags for states who were once proud of their Confederate heritage have been changed.

They have renamed all the streets, counties, buildings, and schools that once honored the brave men of the CSA with names of contemporary leaders. The monuments that once graced the courthouse lawns and parks have been taken to the museum. In fact, there is only a small part of the museum now dedicated to the Confederate sacrifice. It is not a positive exhibit. Your men in gray are labeled as criminals and traitors.
There are no more references to Confederate veterans in the local cemetery. The stones have been modified to erase any commentary of that war service. As I mentioned before, because of the ban on the Southern Cross, we can no longer place the dear flag on your final resting place.

The school kids can't play Dixie in the band any more. The school board says it is racist. I guess we have to live that because they don't know the words anyway. We are having a tougher time even finding things about the War unless they are published in the North. Our county library had to remove all the Southern history and Southern culture books because they were judged as harmful to children. The textbooks that are in the schools pretty much defame you and all the veterans for being hateful, nasty Rebels.

I am sorry for letting things get the way they are. The politically correct revisionists are a carry-over from the carpetbaggers and scalawags of your time. They have most of the country now believing the lies of the North. I could have done more, but I really didn't think my inaction would allow this to happen.

See, Grandfather, I could have flown the Flag at home. I could have gotten more involved in the heritage organizations. I could have marched in parades, worked as a volunteer in schools, contributed a few hours and a few dollars when an SCV/CSA project was promoted, but I didn't. I should have checked on the kids' textbooks every year and offered corrections to the errors. I should have stood up against the lies. I could have written letters or spoken to politicians. I should have gotten my family, friends, and neighbors involved. Every time some group called the Confederates racists or traitors, I should have stood up and done something. I did not and I failed you.

I was too busy. I did not think my participation really was important. I did not like some of the men who were leading us. I now know that I was wrong. It is all gone because of my sloth. apathy, uncooperativeness, and unwillingness to give a little time or money for the Cause.

I should have thought about all your sacrifice and the sacrifice of thousands of other Confederate veterans. I lost focus of what y'all gave for the Cause, instead of thinking selfishly, only of myself. Had I done something four years ago before things really got bad, there would still be honor for you and myself. Now there is nothing left of the Confederacy or your good name. I fumbled that away and not only for you and me, but for the generations to come.

I hope that when I leave this earth and we see each other face-to-face, you will have some pity on me and forgive me for the awful job I did as a Son of a Confederate Veteran.

How many of us will have to sign a letter like this? Don't be a signer. Be a doer. Take action now.
[Source: John Griffin, The Carolina Confederate, January/February 2000]