J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the month “June, 2015”

The Craziness Continues

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I’m sure glad I bought my Confederate battle flag when I did, because now it will be increasingly difficult to find one. In the latest news, the oldest flag manufacturer in the country, Annin Flagmakers, has stated that it will cease manufacturing the flag. Not only has Walmart pulled the flag from its shelves, but now Amazon, Sears and eBay have pulled the flag from their sites as well. It’s amazing all the uproar one deranged lunatic has caused. Never mind that he killed nine innocent people and nothing’s been said about that – let’s get rid of that nasty flag instead!

“We never want to offend anyone with the products we offer,” Walmart said in a statement.

I could name many items Walmart sells that offend me, but that’s another story.

According to USA Today, “Flag makers say there isn’t much of a market anyway for the Confederate flag in the U.S.”

“It’s not something regularly produced,” says Reggie Vandenbosch, chairman of the Flag Manufacturers Association of America. “It’s not even a 10th of a percent of the overall business.”

So then what’s the big deal? If there aren’t that many flags being sold, why are they all being pulled? Is it because they supposedly might offend some people? Mass murder offends me, not the flag.

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The Flag Manufacturers Association plans to discuss continuing the manufacture of the Confederate flag. In the meantime, Valley Forge Flag, where Vandenbosch is the vice president of sales, will stop selling it.

The states of Tennessee and Virginia have banned the use of the flag on license tags. This action directly attacks the Sons of Confederate Veterans, because their banner is the Confederate battle flag. To me, this seems highly unjust. The SCV uses the flag to honor 480,000 Confederate Civil War casualties, not to stir up social unrest.

A Confederate activist group, the Virginia Flaggers, regularly displays Confederate flags on private property along major highways. The group condemned the move, stating that their displays have always occurred without incident.

In other news, the governor of Alabama removed the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds in Montgomery. There was no press conference or fanfare; no vote or ceremony. The flag was just gone this morning.

“We are facing some major issues in this state regarding the budget and other matters that we need to deal with,” said Alabama Governor Robert Bently (R). “This had the potential to become a major distraction as we go forward. I have taxes to raise, we have work to do. And it was my decision that the flag needed to come down.”

Wow. A distraction? So keeping the flag flying would prevent the governor from raising taxes, then? How does that work? So far, the governor of Mississippi has vowed to keep the flag, which is in the state flag’s canton.

I wonder what would have happened if Dylann Roof had been holding an American flag in his photo instead, or a Bible? Hypersensitivity reigns in the U.S.A. now, but instead of directing blame at the person who deserves it, the Confederate battle flag is being blamed because it supposedly stirs racial unrest. I can’t imagine how many people are offended by all of this, in that their history and heritage are being suddenly swept away. There are many people in the South who love this flag, both black and white, and I’m sure they feel personally attacked. Still others say it’s time for the flag to go, and that it’s time to move on. I believe the flag needs to be reinvented, instead of being associated with racism. Removing it from public view won’t solve any problems.

Protesters display Confederate flags United States flags from the bed of a pickup truck May 6 on a highway about 15 miles south of Miami in what organizers said was a protest to show support for Attorney General Janet Reno and respect for the flag. Organizers said they wanted to counteract demonstrations held by members of the Cuban-American community that followed the April 22 seizure of Cuban rafter Elian Gonzalez by government agents from the home of his Miami relatives. BC/CLH/

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Confederate Flag Under Fire

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Once again, the Confederate Battle Flag is under attack. This time, the controversy surrounds the tragedy that occurred last week in Charleston, South Carolina, when a mentally deranged 21-year-old opened fire on a Bible study group. Apparently, this individual posted rantings online about white supremacy. He also posed with the Confederate battle flag, which is unfortunate, to say the least. As expected, the governor of South Carolina will have the flag removed from the Capitol grounds. The flag flew full-mast following the shootings, unlike the other flags on the Capitol grounds, which sparked the controversy. Why it wasn’t taken to half-mast like the others is unclear.

I have serious questions about this issue. Why did Dylann Roof’s parents allow him access to that weapon when they knew he had mental issues?  Why is the Confederate flag to blame? Roof spent too much time on the internet. Are they going to abolish computers next? Or are race-baiting politicians going to blame the NRA, the place where he bought the gun, or retail stores in general? Of course not. They’re going to attack the Confederate battle flag. Walmart just announced that it will be removing all merchandise with the flag from their stores. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. They want only to destroy and censor history, and this is becoming more blatant with school’s history curriculums. What one person deems as offensive symbolism could be misinterpreted in a number of ways. Will the cross be the next target? Or the Star of David? How many other symbols will people find offensive and want to do away with, for the sake of political correctness? If this is the beginning, then where will it end?

People need to be held accountable for their actions, instead of laying blame on inanimate objects. It’s funny how the Confederate battle flag wasn’t an issue in Ferguson or Baltimore. Racism is the issue, not the Confederate battle flag.

NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said, “We don’t want to single out the state [South Carolina] as being uniquely bad. But, we do want to single out the state for being a candidate for a major set of reforms in terms of addressing bias and bigotry.”

By eradicating the Confederate battle flag? Really?

“The time has come to remove this symbol of hate and division from our state capitol,” said Reverend Nelson Rivers of Charleston.

He has stated the problem in a nutshell by being unwilling to see the flag as anything other than a “symbol of hate and division.” Rev. Rivers, like so many others, needs to expand on his compassion and understanding. There will always be lunatics in the world, but to target the flag as the problem is misdirected.

“The Confederate battle flag years and years ago was appropriated as a symbol of hate,” said Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley. “It is a piece of history and it belongs in a history museum.”

Once every bit of history becomes obsolete or deemed politically incorrect because of changing times, does that mean it will all end up in a museum? Or worse yet, packed away from the world, so that ignorance reigns?

According to John Oliver of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, the Confederate flag “helps us identify the worst people in the world.” They should “put it in a box and label it ‘bad flag’.”

Begging your pardon, Mr. Oliver, but not everyone who flies the flag goes around committing mass murder, or even spouts racial bigotry, for that matter. What does one thing have to do with the other? Or is the flag just a scapegoat?

There are too many people in this country who love the flag, and not for racist reasons. But radicals and liberals can’t seem to understand this. Sadly, the Confederate battle flag was used by hate groups in the past, and that stigma still holds true to some extent, although the American flag has the same associations. The Confederate battle flag was based on St. Andrews Cross with Scottish origins, and during the Civil War, it represented states’ rights. Over the years, hate groups caused it to evolve into a racial statement, but this desperately needs to change. It is an insult to those who see the flag as an element of their Southern heritage, and they are the people who are being punished. Haters will still be haters. The truth is, getting rid of the flag won’t get rid of the problem. People need to be reeducated about racism and the flag as being two separate entities, not one conjoined statement of hatred. If everything Confederate is erased, it still won’t solve the problem, and it only offends those who cherish their heritage and ancestry.

As Mr. Oliver stated when he was discussing another subject, revenge porn, “It’s up to us and how to fundamentally change the internet.” Don’t you think this holds true to our perceptions of the Confederate battle flag as well? It’s about time we change our perception of the flag as a symbol of hatred. In fact, it’s long overdue.

(A statue memorializing the Confederacy in Charleston was vandalized with graffiti a few days after the shootings. It’s supposed to say “Black Lives Matter.”)

Black Lives Mater

Old Fort Has Story to Tell

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In infamous part of our past, Ft. Morgan sits serenely overlooking Mobile Bay in Alabama. The fortification is located at the very tip of land that stretches across the mouth of the bay. It was built following the War of 1812, and was used up until 1946. Although the structure is merely a skeleton of its former self, it still resembles what, during its day, was an impermeable design. In fact, it probably wouldn’t have fallen to Union troops on August 23, 1864 if it hadn’t been overrun.
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This is where Admiral David Farragut, upon attacking the Confederates at the fort, uttered his famous order, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” The Union fleet penetrated the fort by blasting past the Rebel vessels and through the minefield, thus taking control of the fort. The U.S.S. Tecumseh monitor was destroyed by the C.S.S. Tennessee, and sank just off the coast, killing 90 of its crew.
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The fort was reactivated during the Spanish-American War, and was used as a training base during WWI. In the forties, it was reactivated once again, and manned by the Coast Guard. In 1946, it was deactivated and turned over to the Alabama.
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Even though the fort is old and somewhat creepy, with weeds growing up through the handmade bricks that make up the walls, it is a fascinating edifice with an intriguing story to tell. Pieces of rusty cannons lie half-buried in the white sand below the fort, remnants of what was once a magnificent battle. The view from the batteries out over the bay is spectacular. I highly recommend that everyone take the opportunity to see this fort if they can, and/or Ft. Gaines, which stands at the west side of the bay.

Confederate Cavalry

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Over one hundred and fifty years ago, two significant Civil War cavalry battles took place. The first was on June 9, 1863, and was the largest cavalry battle to take place in North America. The battle near Brandy Station, Virginia, occurred after Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart’s troopers were surprised by Union General David McMurtrie Gregg’s cavalry forces. The battle was a turning point for the Confederate cavalry. Up until then, they were far superior to the Federal cavalry, but the Yankees improved their skills, and by 1863, became worthy foes. This event lead up to the Battle of Gettysburg. My novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, describes the Battle of Brandy Station, and explains the events the happened before and after, such as three Grand Reviews that General Stuart staged prior to the attack.

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Another cavalry battle took place at Brice’s Crossroads, Mississippi, on June 10, 1864, where the infamous General Nathan Bedford Forrest outflanked and outmaneuvered his foe. The battle marked another significant achievement in the Western Theatre, as General Forrest outfoxed nearly twice as many opponents. His genius has been a subject of study ever since.

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Civil War Memorabilia to be Auctioned

I have been asked to publicize an auction that will take place this Thursday, June 11. The auction will be held by Invaluable, the premiere online auction marketplace, which is teaming up with Profiles in History. A variety of historical pieces will be auctioned. Here is more information about this event:

This auction will contain: one of the first obtainable printed editions of Abraham Lincoln’s final Emancipation Proclamation, a Sir Isaac Newton signed rare document, a Photograph of Apollo 11 moon walkers signed by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and an autographed letter signed by Clara Barton. These are just some of the notable items awaiting bidders.

This auction, Historical Auction 75 will be on June 11, 2015, 11:00 AM PST and will feature a selection of 200 noteworthy auction lots. Here are a few lots for example:

Lot 116 Newton Sir Isaac Autograph document signe

Lot 116. Sir Isaac Newton signed rare document,  Estimated Price: $30,000 – $50,000

Extremely rare autograph document signed (“Is. Newton”), 1 page (5.75 x 3 in.; 146 x 76 mm.), no place, 15 November 1721, To the Accountant General of the South Sea Company”. Hinged on left edge to a larger 8 x 5 in. (203 x 127 mm.) leaf of card stock. Minor chip missing at upper margin.

Lot 98 Lincoln Abraham Autograph letter signed

Lot 98. Abraham Lincoln autographed letter, Estimated Price: $30,000 – $50,000

Historic autograph letter signed (“A. Lincoln”), 2 pages on two sheets of blue-lined paper (7.75 x 9.75 in.; 197 x 248 mm.), [Washington, D.C., ca. 2 May 1864], “To the Honorable the House of Representatives,” being a transcript penned in Lincoln’s hand of his 2 November 1863 letter to “Hon. Montgomery Blair”. First page slightly toned with some ink smudges; both pages have two filing holes in the upper left margins with minor adhesive residue stains at the lower verso.

Lot 137 Key Francis Scott The Star Spangled Banner

Lot 137. Francis Scott Key printing, Estimated Price: $40,000 – $60,000

“The Star Spangled Banner.” New York : Geib & Co. No. 23 Maiden Lane [1816-1817], 2 pages quarto; leather and cloth presentation binding in red white and blue flag motif.

Lot 97 Lincoln Abraham A Proclamation

Lot 97. Abraham Lincoln signed Emancipation Proclamation, Estimated Price: $40,000 – $60,000

One of the first obtainable printed editions of Abraham Lincoln’s final Emancipation Proclamation, January 1863, issued by the State Department, together with two additional anti-slavery imprints collected by a prominent abolitionist in the Lincoln Administration. Printed circular,  By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation. [Washington: Government Printing Office, ca. 5 January 1863] 2 printed pages (8.25 x 13 in.; 209 x 330 mm.) on one folding sheet. First page of sheet bears a printed letter of transmittal dated Washington, 3 January 1863. Small infill at left margin not affecting text, a few insignificant and tiny toned spots.

Feel free to check out other historical items, as well as our other collectibles up for auction:

http://www.invaluable.com/collectibles/pc-BQWOG3FLWY/

https://www.profilesinhistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/75Historical_CatalogS.pdf

The Birthday of a President

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Today is the birthday of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. He was born in Christian County, Kentucky, not far from where Abraham Lincoln was born one year later. The tenth youngest child of a plantation owner, Davis rose to become one of the most celebrated, and yet controversial, American statesmen.

His illustrious career began with the military, where he served as an officer. He was elected to the House of Representatives and later to Congress, married twice, and had six children, but only one survived to adulthood. He saw much pain and sadness in his lifetime, but still maintained his firm belief in the Confederate cause. Following the War Between the States, he became somewhat of a recluse, penning his memoirs at Beauvoir in Biloxi, Mississippi. After his death at age 81, his wife, Varina, had his body moved to Richmond, where it remains today.

Bertram Hayes-Davis, who is the great-great grandson of Jefferson Davis, frequently tours the country speaking on behalf of his infamous ancestor. Sadly, he has encountered obstacles in regard to having Jefferson Davis receive the honor he so greatly deserves. In fact, there is talk about removing his statue from the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building. Instead of dismissing Jefferson Davis as being politically incorrect, we should honor him for the sacrifices he made for his country and what he believed to be right. Let us celebrate him as a true patriot and the American icon that he was.

Civil War Monument Rededicated

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Some places still honor their Civil War ancestors, instead of tearing down their statues. Today, a special ceremony took place in Pierre, South Dakota, to dedicate a Civil War monument on the grounds of the state capitol. State officials and civilians reenacted the original dedication, which took place 95 years ago.

The Capitol Complex Restoration and Beautification Commission approved various upgrades to the monument site, which included adding sidewalks, lighting, landscaping, benches and a flagpole. Governor Dennis Daugaard read remarks that were made at the June 1, 1920 dedication. Other state officials read remarks originally given by members of the Grand Army of the Republic. A group of Pierre citizens also sang “America” and the “Star Spangled Banner,” just as they had been sung at the original dedication.

This is a very noble and respectful way to treat statues of heroes past. It is truly a shame that certain places in the South can’t show as much gratitude. Instead, they are too concerned with political correctness, and who the monuments might offend. It is a sad day in our country’s consciousness when we try to erase what we consider to be unacceptable today. Public opinion was much different in the 1860’s. The whole country should use Pierre as an example of how we should cherish our ancestors and our past, no matter which side of the Mason-Dixon Line they fought for.

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