Sunday, January 18, 2015

Lee Jackson Day and Flagging on the Sidewalk

The West Florida Flaggers extend our thanks to Stephen R. Mallory Camp 1315, SCV, for inviting us to their Lee Jackson Banquet on Saturday, January 17.

Franco's Italian Restaurant was closed to the public for the event. A color guard in period attire presented the colors prior to the program, after which John Appleyard, a local historian, gave the gathering the fascinating backstory of General Lee prior to the war. At the end of the program, camp members with lighted candles stepped through the dining room, lighting the tea candles at each place setting, and attendees named their Confederate ancestor memoralized by the candles.

I'm no public speaker, even in a situation like that, and I mis-identifed my ancestor, Private Balus Brackett, Georgia, Infantry, as my gg-grandfather. In fact, he was a gg uncle. His outfit was Company I, 39th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Army of Tennessee, C.S.A. Gilmer County, Georgia, "Gilmer Tigers #2" Joined the Confederate Army March 4, 1862. Fought in the Battle of Corinth, Miss, October 3-4, 1862

When the candle-lighting was over, I slipped out. I could possibly have stayed until the end of the event, as there wasn't much left on the program. But I had to get downtown to flag.

Lee and Jackson at the head table; larger pictures of the two great generals were on display in the restaurant entrance
Food, flags and fellowship.

Listening to the presentation on General Lee.
Lighting a candle and ringing a bell to remember brave Confederate ancestors.
It was the best day yet for flagging -- brilliant sunshine, little breeze and chilly, not cold, temps. But the best thing were a couple of conversations we had with people on the sidewalk.

One young fellow, a native of Louisiana who has lived in Pensacola the past seven years, was in adamant agreement that the county commission needed to restore the Five Flags at the civic center. We had a long conversation with him and found a lot of common ground. He thinks the loss of tradition and heritage in the U.S. accompanies the diminishing of freedom.

We also had an interesting conversation with a trio of seniors who were strongly in support of restoring the flags. Like so many people, their reasoning was, "It's our history." They listened when we explained that, while we are primarily a Confederate heritage advocates, in this case, we support the restoration of all the historic flags.

The gentleman took one of our hand-outs and thanked us, and he and one of the women accompanying him strolled down the street, but the other woman stayed to chat with us a bit longer. She was unfamiliar with the First National, and seemed fascinated to learn about the three national flags of the CSA.

I'm truly surprised by the amount of support for returning the Five Flags to the civic center, and the interest in Confederate history.

Connie Chastain
West Florida Flaggers

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