President Sends Wreath to Confederate Memorial
President Obama continued a tradition begun almost a century ago and sent a Memorial Day wreath today to the Confederate Memorial at Arlington Cemetery, ignoring pleas from some historians to "break the chain of racism" by not sending a floral tribute.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) had urged Obama to send a wreath as usual and in a press release sent out Saturday said, "all Confederate Veterans have the status as American Veterans as well," and are due the same honors.
SCV Commander-in-Chief Chuck McMichaels of Shreveport, La. said today that Obama's decision was, "very appropriate."
President Woodrow Wilson began the tradition of presenting a wreath when he spoke at the dedication of the Confederate Memorial in 1914. At the time, Wilson saw the memorial as a way to continue to heal the division that was still evident between the North and the South because of the Civil War.
The memorial, designed by world-renowned sculptor Moses Ezekiel, is an elaborate work of art featuring a larger than life figure of a woman representing the South. She stands atop a 32-foot base and wears a crown of olive leaves. Her left hand, holding a a laurel wreath, is extended toward the south in recognition of her fallen soldiers. Her right hand holds a pruning hook resting on a plow stock, symbolical of the Biblical passage of turning swords into plow shares and spears into pruning hooks.
There are 482 people buried in what is known as the Confederate Section. They were moved there from other parts of Arlington Cemetery, Alexandria and the Soldiers' Home in Washington. Among that group are 46 officers, 351 enlisted men, 58 wives, 15 southern citizens and 12 unknowns. They are buried in concentric circles around the monument.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy mark the anniversary of the memorial dedication each year with a ceremony including numerous wreaths. This year it will be held on June 7 at 3 p.m. The public is invited.
Posted by: suesue8709 | May 28, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: libing0755 | May 30, 2009 3:19 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.