J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the month “July, 2016”

Destroying History

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On this date in 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood launched an attack on the Federals outside Atlanta, Georgia. The Yankees were well-entrenched, and Hood’s troops, who ran headlong into their opponents, were predictably slaughtered. The outcome of the Battle of Ezra Church was 3,000 Confederates lost versus 700 Union soldiers. Hood’s assault, like those that had previously taken place at Peach Tree Creek and Atlanta, was a dismal failure. And like those two battles, the Battle of Ezra Church is only remembered by a few markers.

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This is yet another example of what can happen to hallowed ground if it is not protected. Battlefields around Atlanta have been swallowed up by commercial and residential development. Some markers designating the area of the Battle of Ezra Church have been vandalized.

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Right now, an assault is being waged against other monuments as well. After the city of New Orleans announced they were postponing a decision about removing five Confederate monuments, vandals expressed their anger by seeking revenge and spray painting graffiti on the monument of General Robert E. Lee. And the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, located in what was previously known as Forrest Park in downtown Memphis (near Sun Studios, where Elvis recorded his first hit record), was also spray painted.

Forrest Monument Vandalized

These places and monuments should be upheld with honor to those who served and died for a cause they believed in. Unfortunately, the true story of the Civil War is hardly taught in schools today, so those too ignorant to seek the truth believe the South fought to preserve slavery. This is completely wrong. Instead of destroying our nation’s history or trying to erase it by changing names, we should be enlightening people with the truth about why the war was fought and why the repercussions following the Civil War happened the way they did. If we don’t, we are only hurting ourselves.

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The Impact of Progress

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I find it very disheartening when I learn about another Civil War battlefield that has been lost to history due to urban sprawl. The first time I saw this was when I visited the Battle of the Wilderness area in Virginia. Housing developments had been built on the battlefield, not far from where trenches were dug and are still visible today. To me these areas are sacred and should be cherished.

On July 20, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood attacked a portion of Union General William T. Sherman’s army outside of Atlanta, Georgia, on the banks of Peach Tree Creek. Sadly, all that remains now is a sign marking the spot. The battle was one of the bloodiest during the Atlanta Campaign, with 4,250 soldiers being killed, wounded, or captured. And yet, nothing is left to remind us of the terrible struggle that took place there. It’s easy to forget about the sacrifices these men made when there is no reminder other than a few markers.

Atlanta

On July 22, 1864, Union General James B. McPherson learned that his old West Point roommate, General John Bell Hood, was ready to strike. Skirmishers shot and killed McPherson. General Sherman wept when he saw McPherson’s body. The Federals rallied, crying, “Remember McPherson!” They staved off each Confederate assault until the Battle of Atlanta was finally over. It was the bloodiest battle of the Atlanta campaign. Again, there is no reminder of the terrible battle, since the field is now covered with gas stations, highways, and developments. The battlefield, like the one at Peach Tree Creek, is completely destroyed. The only reminder of McPherson’s death, an upturned cannon in a residential neighborhood, is basically forgotten. I think it is tragic that these men, who gave their lives for future generations, don’t receive a better legacy than this.

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Another example is Fleetwood Hill near Brandy Station, Virginia. The Battle of Brandy Station was the largest cavalry battle to ever take place on American soil. Years after the battle, however, homes were built on the sacred field. Fortunately, the Civil War Trust managed to buy back Fleetwood Hill, and is now in the process of restoring it to its original condition prior to the battle. (You can read more about this battle in my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire.)

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I consider all Civil War battlefields to be hallowed ground, and I only hope that what remains will be preserved. It seems every other aspect of the Confederacy is under attack, and it would be a shame and an insult to our children if we did not preserve these places.

The Civil War Trust is now in the process of saving over five hundred acres at four different Western Theatre battlefields: Shiloh, Stones River, Rocky Face Ridge, and Bentonville. For more information, check out http://www.civilwar.org/?referrer=https://www.google.com/.

https://www.amazon.com/Beckoning-Hellfire-Novel-Civil-War/dp/0595435319/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469570084&sr=8-1&keywords=a+beckoning+hellfire

Big Hearts During Times of War

This story is so heart-rending that I just had to share. Hope you enjoy it.
-What The Confederate Stranger and A Small Town in Maine Can Teach Us-
In 1862, a man named Lt. Charles H. Colley of Gray, Maine, was killed during the Battle of Cedar Mountain. When his grieving family opened up the casket that was supposed to contain their son, they were stunned to discover that a fully uniformed Confederate soldier had been shipped to them instead. Having no way to identify the soldier, and also lacking the means to ship him back to Virginia, Lt. Colley’s family decided to bury him in Gray Village Cemetery alongside the Union soldiers who had been killed in the war. They figured that this unknown Confederate’s family would appreciate the gesture, even though they’d never find out about it.
The Ladies of Gray, a group of mothers whose sons were either missing, injured, or killed in the war, paid to put up a headstone for this unknown Confederate. The headstone’s inscription is simple and gut-wrenching: “Stranger. A soldier of the late war. Erected by the Ladies of Gray.”
For the first 90-something years after Stranger’s most unexpected arrival in Maine, his headstone was treated the same as all of the other veterans buried at the cemetery. Since 1956, however, a Confederate battle flag has been placed next to Stranger’s gravesite each Memorial Day–a pop of solid red amidst a sea of American flags.
Gray sent more people to fight for the Union Army per capita than any small town in Maine, and nearly 200 of them didn’t get to come home. The people of Gray, especially mothers whose sons could have been shot at or killed by Stranger, had every right to have simply buried Stranger in an unmarked grave in a field somewhere in the town. It would have been completely understandable — this person was, after all, an enemy soldier during a time of war. Instead, they recognized their shared humanity with this unknown man, and buried him alongside local heroes and treated him like one of their own.
Which brings me to today.
We’ve come a long way from 1862, but not entirely in a good way. Our nation, and in particular its liberals should look to the actions of the Ladies of Gray for inspiration on how to behave with decency and respect in times of fighting and conflict.
In 1862, America had divided into two nations at war — it doesn’t get more polarized than that. If the Ladies of Gray could find it within themselves to create and maintain a dignified memorial to a man who was quite literally shooting at their sons before he died, there’s no excuse for the attacks against Southern memorials 150 years later.
(Courtesy Dixie Heritage Newsletter, June 24, 2016 ed.)

Purging the Past is a Bad Idea

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One year after a terrible tragedy sparked a national wildfire of political correctness, the Confederate battle flag is still under attack, as well as Confederate monuments around the country. However, one Congressman refuses to bow down to political correctness. He is Steve King, a Republican Congressional representative from Iowa, where he has served for the past 13 years. Rep. King is not afraid to go against the tide of political correctness. While Congress is purging the flags from Capitol Hill, Rep. King has reacted by displaying a Confederate battle flag in his Capitol office.

This is in direct opposition to a bill in Congress calling for a ban on Confederate flags from National cemeteries and Virginia cemeteries. A resolution by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War was originally issued in 2000 in support of the Confederate battle flag. The SUVCW reaffirmed their support of the flag last year after the wave of controversy swept across the country. The resolution is as follows:

RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT DISPLAY OF BATTLE FLAGS OF THE CONFEDERACY 119TH NATIONAL ENCAMPMENT OF THE SONS OF UNION VETERANS OF THE CIVIL WAR LANSING, MICHIGAN AUGUST 19, 2000

A resolution in support of the display of the Confederate Battle Flag.
WHEREAS, we, the members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, condemn the use of the confederate battle flag, as well as the flag of the United States, by any and all hate groups; and
WHEREAS, we, the members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, support the flying of the Confederate battle flag as a historical piece of this nation’s history; and
WHEREAS, we, the members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, oppose the removal of any Confederate monuments or markers to those gallant soldiers in the former Confederate States, and strongly oppose the removal of ANY reminders of this nation’s bloodiest war on the grounds of it being “politically correct;” and
WHEREAS, we, as the descendants of Union soldiers and sailors who as members of the Grand Army of the Republic met in joint reunions with the Confederate veterans under both flags in those bonds of Fraternal Friendship, pledge our support and admiration for those gallant soldiers and of their respective flags;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we, the members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in 119th Annual National Encampment, hereby adopt this resolution. Dated in Lansing, Michigan, on this nineteenth day of August, in the year of our Lord Two thousand.
This resolution of support of our flags, symbols, and monuments which was issued by the Sons of Union Veterans of The Civil War on August 19, 2000 was reaffirmed in 2015 by SUVCW Commander-in-Chief Tad D. Campbell through SUVCW General Order #26.

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After a recent vote, it was determined that the majority of residents in New Orleans are in favor of keeping the monuments that have recently come under fire of the politically correct hailstorm. This was also the case in South Carolina and Louisville, Kentucky. So if everyone wants to keep the flag, monuments, and other reminders of the Confederacy, why are the complaints of only a few being heard? I think it goes far deeper than just removing these reminders of our American past. In my opinion, it is all part of a larger movement to force a more restrictive government upon us.

“Any society which suppresses the heritage of its conquered minorities, prevents their history or denies them their symbols, has sown the seeds of their own destruction.”
Sir William Wallace, 1281 A.D.

Happy International Authors Day!

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Today is International Authors Day! In honor of this special day, a blog hop is being sponsored by http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in.  I am giving away one copy of each of my novels, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire. Both books are part of the Renegade Series about a family from north Alabama during the Civil War.

I was inspired to write about this time period after reading a book written by my favorite author, Margaret Mitchell. Not only did she write one of the great American novels, Gone with the Wind, but she was only thirty-six years old when the book was first published. It took her about three years to write the novel, which won two awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. A film adaptation starring Clark Gable, Vivian Leigh, and Olivia de Havilland was released in 1939, which won several Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel, the first black person to ever win an Oscar), Screenplay, Art Direction, Film Editing and Cinematography. The book was banned at one point, but has now become a cherished addition to American fiction.

Ms. Mitchell was the descendant of Scottish and Irish immigrants. She lived to be only 48 years old when she was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 1948. Although Ms. Mitchell’s life was cut short, she was and is an inspiration to those of us who wish to write the great American novel. Ms. Mitchell is the perfect example of how authors use their own personal experiences when writing. Much of her character references and their situations were based on her own family members. It’s strange to think that, if she hadn’t injured her ankle and had been forced to stay home recuperating, perhaps the novel never would have been written. Although Gone with the Wind is somewhat controversial today, what with all the negative references in the present political climate to the Confederacy and the Confederate battle flag, the novel will always portray a fascinating, significant part of American history.

To enter the contest, please shoot me an email at jdrhawkins@gmail.com. Thank you so much and good luck!

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About Awakened

Ruby Iyer must save her city, save her friend, save her very soul from being destroyed and only sexy cop gone rogue Vik Roy can help her. Except Vik has a secret; one that will turn her world upside down. Can she still trust him? Criminals run the streets of Bombay. Jam-packed with the worst degenerates. The city is a shell of the pride and joy it used to be. Ruby knows something must be done, but it isn’t until her best friend is kidnapped that she knows that she and she alone must save city, save her best friend, save her soul from total destruction. Armed only with Vik, a sexy cop-turned-rogue they are about to embark on a road they may never return from.

What they say:

“Laxmi’s stories get you from the very first sentence and never let go” – Rebecca Hamilton, USA Today Bestselling Author

“…A novel that presents so much more than a singular, easy path.” – D. Donovan, (Midwest Book Reviews)

Awards

Finalist, 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

2015 Readers’ Favorite

Finalist, 2015 IAN Book of the Year Awards

Finalist, 9th Annual Indie Excellence Awards

 

Excerpt

His tongue flicks out to touch his lips. Can he still taste blood?

His eyes flick to my lips, down to my throat, my breasts, lower, lower still. I’m close enough to see the golden flecks in his eyes shine. Smell that hard man smell of his which tugs at me. Heat from him spools towards me hitting me squarely in my chest, pulling at my stomach, churning my guts and I shudder.

His eyes widen, and as if unable to help himself, he lowers his mouth brushing my lips once, twice, thrice. Teasing me, nibbling at me, caressing my lips till I feel the heat inside twist and glow, till the lighting tree on my back sizzles, sparking fire.

I moan and reaching up capture his mouth with mine, thrusting my tongue against his; and feel the shock run through him.

He’s still just for a second, then he’s leaning into me, on me till I am surrounded by him, his touch, his skin, that cinnamon smell of his, which is so Vik. Heat from his body pushes at me, begging to be let in, holding me captive and I feel a trickle of sweat running down between my breasts. Breath coming out in short bursts, I strain against him, trying to free my shackled arms, but he doesn’t let go. He also doesn’t stop there.

His mouth lowers to my throat, pushing aside the bathrobe till he bares the curve of my shoulder, then bites me, lightly.

My heart slams against my rib cage at that, my eyes flutter shut and I bite my lips to stop myself from crying out. At the pain trembling down to my belly.

He kisses the skin, licking his tongue over the exact same spot and this time I shiver, but he’s already trailing his lips down to my breasts. His hand grips the flare of my lips and this time, I moan aloud as his fingers splay out over my belly.

And it’s as if the sound gets through to him, for he’s suddenly leaning back.

My eyes fly open and I look up at his face, want to trace his lips, run my fingers through his hair and once again I arch my back, push against him and this time he lets me go.

Even as I watch a shutter comes down over his eyes and they lose that bright glow I’d seen there just a second ago.

I know then, he’s going to leave and walk away and I can’t let him go.

Not now, not when I can tell he’s feeling something for me.

When my insides are churning as if this is the only thing that matters. When the emotions overwhelming me wipe out all that has happened before this, making me feel clean. When I don’t care who he is, or where he comes from or what his real relation is to Dr B. When something inside me senses that deep at his core, where it matters, he is honest at least as far as whatever ‘this’ between us is concerned.

I want him.

And I want to make him want me.

Make him show me how much he wants me.

 

About Laxmi Hariharan

I am fascinated by the unseen in the real world and in relationships. I write fast-paced urban fantasy romances, with a paranormal twist. My stories feature intense love-interests, kickass heroines, moody heroes and surprise plot lines. I enjoy nothing better than getting under the skin of my characters and especially when they surprise me. Married to a filmmaker and fellow author, I live in London and am the proud owner of a mononym twitter handle @laxmi. Receive a free starter library of my books when you sign up to my newsletter http://bit.ly/NewsletterLH

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It All Boils Down to Money

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Maybe there is some sanity still left in the world. A recent decision by the Houston public school district is now under scrutiny. Here is the lowdown:

Nine members of the local community last Thursday sued Houston’s public school district, alleging the district violated numerous laws and their own regulations when recently changing the names of eight schools.

“We’ve been arguing as parents and taxpayers for months that the vote was illegal, politically driven, and taking these historic buildings was against the law,” said public relations consultant Wayne Dolcefino, who is a spokesman for the plaintiffs in the case.

The lawsuit asks the Harris County District Court to prohibit HISD’s board from spending millions of taxpayer dollars on renaming the eight schools. HISD voted to change the names of these schools in May because each school was named for a Confederate leader.

An HISD spokesman said the district had no immediate comment on the suit.

Dolcefino said the school board violated the Texas Open Meetings act and the Monument act, among other regulations. The plaintiffs on Tuesday issued a 24-hour demand to HISD, asking the board to rescind its vote to rename the schools. HISD didn’t respond, he said.

RobertELee
Attorney Dan Goforth, who’s representing the plaintiffs, said the money HISD will have to spend is the sole problem with the name changes.

“We’re not saying they can’t do it. We’re just saying they can’t do it the way they want to do it,” Goforth said.

He estimated it will cost the school district at least $5 million, including at least $2 million to change student uniforms to match the new school names. HISD expects the total cost of the name changes will be no more than $2 million.

“HISD is broke,” the attorney said.

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Nancy Abrego, one of the plaintiffs, lost her job teaching special education in HISD in April due to school district budget cuts. She grew up in the Heights section and attended Reagan High School, one of the schools slated for a name change.

Abrego, who taught in the school district for 18 years, said renaming the schools is a waste of money.

“They need to give it to schools, so the schools and the students can have what they need, instead of teachers having to pull money out of their own pocket,” Abrego said.

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/HISD-removes-names-of-8-schools-with-Confederate-7465929.php

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/HISD-board-votes-to-rename-4-schools-named-after-6760140.php

(Courtesy Dixie Heritage Newsletter, July 1, 2016 ed.)

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