A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” — Marcus Garvey

The historic day has arrived! A park memorializing Confederate veterans will officially open April 25 with the hoisting of the new “world’s largest flying” Confederate Battle Flag. The 40- by 70-foot banner will fly on a 139-foot flagpole at the junction of two major interstates in Tampa, Fla.

I had planned to attend, but due to circumstances beyond my control won’t get the opportunity to witness this historic event. The Gen. Jubal A. Early Camp #556 Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Florida Division SCV have worked very hard to make this a world class and state of the art display of Southern Heritage for future generations to see and learn.

This is not an ordinary flag-raising – and I hope to post pictures of the event later this weekend. The pole for the flag is anchored by a 100,000-pound concrete base, and is the tallest the Federal Aviation Administration will allow in that spot. The 1,500-square-foot flag will be illuminated by spotlights at night, and will be visible from Interstates 4 and 75.

The project has been going through approvals for more than two years and will cost an estimated $80,000. The park that accompanies the flag will feature landscaping and parking as well as plaques detailing the state’s historical contributions to the Confederacy.

What a great tribute to the sacrifices and service of Confederates – and what a great contribution the Sons of Confederate Veterans have made to tell the story of the priceless legacy of their ancestors.

It’s ironic that the veterans group decided to build the park and hoist the flag only after the Hillsborough County Commission failed to acknowledge Confederate Memorial Day with a proclamation in April 2007. Now they will have this large banner waving over them to remind them of the heritage and history of the Southern soldier forever.

I will not be in Florida in person for this historic occasion, but I am there in spirit.

Don’t forget that April is Confederate Heritage Month.

Who will scorn or frown to see veterans of the South’s shattered armies unfurl that other banner, the riddled and blood-stained stars and bars, to look upon it and weep over it, and press it to their bosoms? For it is hallowed with recollections tender as the soldiers last farewell. Then who will upbraid them if they sometimes bring it to light, sacrificed and glorified as it is by the blood and tears of the past and wave it proudly in the air?Confederate Veteran, 1897

 

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