By Paul Gable
Camp 1026 Myrtle Beach of the Sons of Confederate Veterans held a Confederate Memorial Day service Sunday April 12th at Withers Swash Cemetery, 723 Collins St., Myrtle Beach beginning at 3 p.m.
Camp 1026, known as the “Horry Rough and Readys”, began meeting January 2011 and received its charter June 2011. Its name traces back to Company G, 10th Regiment, S.C. Volunteers, in the War Between the States. Co. G, whose nickname was the Horry Rough and Readys, was made up of volunteers from central Horry County. The name was a unanimous choice of the 16 charter members of the camp.
Confederate Memorial Day is a remembrance of those citizen-soldiers who fought so valiantly for the Southern cause in the 1861-5 war. The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a heritage group whose main mission is to protect and maintain the graves of Confederate soldiers.
Over 660 Confederate veterans are buried in Horry County. Withers Swash Cemetery is the resting place of six of these veterans and Ocean Woods Cemetery in Myrtle Beach holds the graves of another two Confederate veterans.
The service will begin with a Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. and Confederate flags. It will include a talk about the meaning of Confederate Memorial Day, a reading of the names of the roll of dead veterans in Withers Swash and Ocean Woods cemeteries, taps and a 21 gun salute.
Confederate Memorial Day differs within the states of the old Confederacy. This service is based on the fourth Monday in April observance, which commemorates the surrender of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to Union Gen. William T. Sherman on April 26, 1865.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans was formed in 1896 as the direct heir to the United Confederate Veterans as the veterans of the war were dying out. It is the oldest hereditary organization for male descendants of soldiers who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces.
While the Confederate flag will be on display and “Dixie” will be played during the service, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is not a racist or hate group. It is an organization which honors the military service of its ancestors, honors their heritage and protects their graves.
My great Confederate friend Robert Shelley invited me, the great-grandson of a Union soldier who, after the war, was a member of McLean Post No. 16, Grand Army of the Republic, Reading District, to the Camp 1026 service. I am happy to take up Robert’s invitation, even though it is possible someone will be honored who fought against my ancestor 150 or so years ago.
Although our ancestors fought on different sides, it was a common legacy of national turmoil that they shared. Robert and I also share the experience of military service, he in the Air Force, me in the Navy, during the Vietnam era, another time of national turmoil.
American history can be said to be one of overcoming periods of great turmoil to become a stronger nation. We are in one of those periods again where philosophical divide separates us.
Robert Shelley and I have widely different ancestral and geographical heritages. Yet, we have become great friends because we understand that the values we share far surpass the differences in our backgrounds. I am proud to share with him a tribute to Confederate veterans.
Honored were those Americans who served in the Confederate forces during the War Between the States and maybe a quiet tribute to a long ago Yankee too.