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Ceremony rededicates cemetery

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By Alice Du Pont

A rededication of Gadsden County’s refurbished Soldiers Cemetery, in Eastern Cemetery, took place Saturday, April 6. The memorial service was conducted by members of Finley’s Brigade Camp 1614, Sons of Confederate Veterans Florida Division and members of the Confederate Rose Society.

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Gadsden County Commission Chairman Doug Croley was the keynote speaker for the event. Several of the attendees were dressed in Confederate gray uniforms and carried replicas of weapons used during the Civil War. Several speakers, flanked by the American Flag and flags of the Confederacy, talked about the meaning of the memorial program.
“As I stand here before you on these historic burial grounds, I would first like to acknowledge Commanders Graham Smith, Marshall Carroll, members of Finley’s Brigade Camp 1614, Ladies of the UDC and the Confederate Rose and all others who have made this rededication of Gadsden County’s Soldier’s Cemetery possible. Their hard work is self-evident and speaks volumes of the love we all share for our Southern heritage,” Croley said.

Croley’s 20-minute speech was sprinkled with applause as he talked about Southern values, education and the sacrifices made by Confederate soldiers.

“Look around and you don’t have to travel far to see just how rapidly our Southern traditions and values are falling. Witness, as many here have, the overt disrespect, given in the name of art to our Confederate ancestors which was displayed, not so many months ago, in a now-defunct downtown Tallahassee Museum where the emblem of Southern hopes and aspirations hung in disgrace. More recently we have seen this same disrespect on display in Memphis, Tenn., whereby the names of historic parks have been sanitized in the name of political correctness,” he said.

While, according to Croley, the main commemoration is April 26, events such as the one Saturday are being held statewide this month in Florida.

“Unfortunately for many Southerners, even those directly descended from Confederate ancestors, the South’s struggle between 1861 and 1865 is something not of value, but one of shame. They have found it a matter of convenience or by uninformed ignorance, a willingness to accept the explanation that the South’s struggle in that time period was immoral. Like many others today they rapidly accept the claim that Peter of the North sought to smite Paul of the South simply because Peter chose to purchase his labor by the day while Paul chose to purchase his by the life,” he said.

He said the soldier’s cemetery leaves “Something of Value” and extends beyond the memorial service Saturday because it “reinforces our knowledge and inspires us all to keep the flame in our hearts and minds burning. It is an effort that truly does leave us with Something of Value. May God bless us all.”

The event ended with a spirited rendition of “Dixie.”

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