Letter reveals writer’s ignorance

Published 8:40 am Wednesday, June 16, 2010

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the letter written by Mr. Albert Burckhard of Carrollton in reference to his distaste for the placing of the Confederate Battle Flag on the graves of Confederate veterans over this past Memorial Day weekend.

It is obvious in Mr. Burckhard’s claims of racism that his true ignorance of the Confederacy and the flags that represent it are apparent. I would like to educate Mr. Burckhard and other readers who may have read his letter on the true meaning of the placement of battle flags on the graves of our Confederate ancestors.

Memorial Day was begun by the widows of Confederate veterans who were killed in the struggle for Southern independence. The widows would place flowers on the graves of the veterans every May.

Memorial Day was later adopted by the federal government as a federal holiday in the early 1970s so that veterans of all wars could be honored on this special day. The father-and- son team (Eddie and Scott Phillips) depicted in the paper are local men who began the practice of placing flags by assisting the Boy Scout Troop 28 many years ago. I applaud their efforts and I am truly indebted to their care and concern for the honor of all veterans in Poplar Spring Cemetery.

I challenge Mr. Burckhard to join next year and assist in placing flags instead of offering idle and unjust criticism. I can guarantee you that I will be at the cemetery next year assisting the Phillipses.

Mr. Burckhard expresses the distaste for the placing of the confederate battle flag on the graves of veterans because it is “inappropriate” and “ignorant”.

I would like to express to all the readers of The Tidewater News that I proudly and gladly placed battle flags on the graves of three of my ancestors’ graves this Memorial Day with my two elementary school-age sons. My great-great-great-grandfather fought in the 13th Va. Cavalry and mustered from the Holy Neck area of Nansemond County, which is of course today the City of Suffolk. My grandfather fought gallantly and proudly under the battle flag and never used it incorrectly as a racial tone against people of color.

My grandfather was protecting his family, his land, and his way of life from an army of northern invaders that came into the south to destroy and force a nation of people to rejoin a government that had turned its back on the people of the South as well as the U.S. Constitution.

In closing, I am proud to be the descendant of a Confederate soldier. I as well as many others will continue to proudly place the battle flag on the graves of our ancestors because it was the flag they fought, died and suffered under. Why should I place the “First National” flag on the grave when they are all one in the same?

Confederate veterans did not misuse the flag as we see today.

It is those who are truly intolerant and ignorant of the true use of the flag that perpetuate the unjust view by many of the Confederate battle flag today.

Robert E. Darden

Urquhart-Gillette Camp #1471

Sons of Confederate Veterans