Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Give the old boys a hand

(Via NCSouth)

Dr. Louis Rubin, professor emeritus of English at UNC-Chapel Hill and the founder of Algonquin Books, penned this piece on his experiences as a young boy attending one of the last reunions of Confederate veterans.

The last major Confederate reunion was held in Richmond in 1932. My father was recuperating from a surgical operation there at the time, so I was on hand for that reunion, too. Some 1,500 veterans were in attendance. One morning we walked over to the Confederate Home, and my father chatted with some of the old men with white beards seated outside in the June sunshine.

The big public event was the reunion parade along Monument Avenue. There were various military and naval units marching in it, including an impressive National Guard drum and bugle corps from Norfolk in scarlet jackets, khaki pants and gleaming silver-chrome helmets. The old veterans came last, riding in flag-draped open touring cars, waving their canes and hats at the spectators lining the sidewalks.

"Give the old boys a hand!" my father said, just as the crowd where we were standing burst spontaneously into applause. The avenue rang with cheering for the long-ago defenders of the capital of the Confederacy.

It must have been a magic moment for a young boy. I can see it in my mind's eye, and I appreciate the chance to do so.

Compare and contrast, if you would, with this piece from the Charlotte Observer, about the latest battle pitting the Pathologically Politically Correct against our Southern heritage.

Ms. Lauren Crawford, a 20-year-old Mecklenburg county resident, apparently roused herself from her normal obliviousness to her surroundings and finally noticed a historical marker next to her Central Piedmont Community College campus, commemorating a 1929 reunion of Confederate veterans in Charlotte--after someone else brought it to her attention.

"The beliefs are not my beliefs," said Crawford on Monday, adding that she passed out about 100 fliers on campus raising awareness of the monument.

In her flier, Crawford said the marker portrays "extreme racial beliefs that most of us probably pass by everyday. Should we leave it alone? Tear it down? Or maybe move it to a museum or to a historical site?"

"Extreme racial beliefs". Really? According to the article, here is the text of marker:

"A state and city's tribute of love; in grateful recognition of the services of the Confederate soldiers whose heroism in war and fidelity in peace have never been surpassed. Accepting the arbitrament of war, they preserved the Anglo-Saxon civilization of the south and became master builders in a re-united country."

Politically Correct? Hardly. Racist? I fail to see anything about racist in this text. I do see the mention of a race, one of three I know of in the Antebellum South. Does this make it racist? I suppose if you've been educated in a public school system in the last 20 years, it probably does.

Ms. Crawford is a sad proof of what our tax dollars buy us. We are not educating our children, we are indoctrinating them. We don't teach them to think, we teach them what to think.

Those of you who are parents of school-age kids, have you asked your kids lately what they learned in school today? Try it every day for a month--you'll be surprised, especially if they're in middle school or high school.

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