Confederate Decoration Day honored on Saturday

A wreath was placed at the foot of  the Gen. Robert Hatton statue on the Lebanon square and a volley of shots were fired in tribute to those ancestors who died in the Confederacy as Confederate Decoration Day was observed Saturday.
Jun 8, 2009

A wreath was placed at the foot of  the Gen. Robert Hatton statue on the Lebanon square and a volley of shots were fired in tribute to those ancestors who died in the Confederacy as Confederate Decoration Day was observed Saturday.
A small crowd gathered for the 10 a.m. memorial, including Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead, former Mayor Don Fox and several members of the 46th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, dressed in authentic period attire. Tom Wood, commander of the Robert H. Hatton Camp #723 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, spoke and led the memorial.
"We organize a memorial service every year to celebrate Confederation Decoration  Day, also known as Confederate Memorial Day, sometimes at Cedar Grove Cemetery and sometimes here on the square," Wood said. "Our goal is to always bring honor and recognition to our ancestors, men, women and children, who died fighting for what they believed in.
"It's a good history lesson for us today."
This year was also the 65th anniversary of D-Day, making the recognition of and the tribute to the dead even more important.
As Gen. Hatton looked down on the gathering of 40 or so people on a glorious Saturday morning, Wood opened the ceremony at precisely 10 a.m.
"Not only is it appropriate we celebrate the Confederacy, but World War II also," said Wood. "We celebrate all periods of service and the men and women who continue to defend our country."
He introduced Martin Frost who gave the invocation by saying, "The men volunteered as the cream of the crop who fought for their new country, their hearth, home and family. Help us to always remember."
Craighead led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Fox led the Salute to the Confederate flag.
 "We are fortunate to have people who care and take care of the Hatton monument. It makes me proud to come around the square and see it looking so good," Craighead said. "History says that back in 1862, Mrs. Charles Williams started the decoration of graves. She and her daughter would visit graves every day.
"Her daughter was called to her own resting place soon after. An effort was started then to make an annual day of remembrance from the Potomac to the Rio Grande."
Wood compared the fighting for rights by Confederate ancestors to the ancestors from 1776 who fought tyranny, unequal taxation. He said they knew, just as the Confederates did, they could die, but were willing to sacrifice their lives and all they had for what they believed to be right.
"The first time I spoke here was 15 years ago with my grandson asleep on my shoulder, and we still have work to do. But, I'm proud of my ancestors," Fox said.
Fox cited several of his ancestors who fought with the Confederacy and said he was proud of Confederate soldiers and the South in general, claiming the South still "has manners, gallantry, friendliness and a sense of caring, although we don't care for strangers who degrade us."
He went on that we "must continue to educate our children on our real history and must carry ourselves with pride."
Wood then brought Laurie McCallister, historian for the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and Craighead up to set the wreath at the Hatton statue. At that point, he recognized the five authentically attired re-enactment personnel who fired and reloaded muskets three times. The sun made the costumes very uncomfortable and hot, but the men rallied to the cause.
Frost gave the benediction and the ceremony ended with everyone in attendance singing, "Dixie."
As an informative note, Hatton was born in Ohio and later moved to Lebanon where he attended Cumberland University. He passed the bar in 1850, was elected to the State Legislature in 1855 and to the U.S. Congress in 1859, When the call came for volunteers at the outbreak of the War Between the States, he rallied 1,000 men from Wilson, Smith, Sumner and DeKalb counties. He died in 1862 and is buried in Cedars of Lebanon.

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