Speaker: Fight for history, monuments

Teresa Roane speaks about the importance of preserving Confederate memorials and monuments. Rich Cooley/Daily

NEW MARKET– When guest speaker Teresa Roane took the podium at the Women’s Memorial Society’s 150th anniversary celebration Monday, she spoke of the importance of preserving Confederate memorials, noting that people must care about the history involved.

“We are here today because we believe in preserving Confederate history and heritage,” said Roane, a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate who has spoken many times about the preservation of Confederate memorials.

“How do we get people to understand that these monuments are important to history? We have to fight,” she continued. “Whether it’s speaking in front of commissioners or city councils, we have to stand tall. This is a 21st century judgment about people from the past. I want to encourage people to continue to fight for history, monuments and more because it is important. We should not become a nation without history.”

The Women’s Memorial Society, a group created in 1867, celebrated its 150th anniversary in a ceremony Monday in St. Matthew’s Cemetery in New Market.

The group was created, according to a news release, “for the purpose of raising funds to erect a marker for Confederate soldiers.” The group’s members are also responsible for caring for over 140 Confederate graves across four cemeteries.

Sean Patrick Regan, director of Massanutten Military Academy's Pipes and Drums Corps, plays a solo as he circles the Confederate monument in St. Matthew's Cemetery in New Market. Rich Cooley/Daily

Attendees were serenaded by the sounds of the Massanutten Military Academy Pipes and Drums Corps before society President Barbara Blakey welcomed everyone.

After invocation, members of the Virginia Military Institute Color Guard presented colors. After “Oh, Shenandoah” was performed by Stonewall Jackson senior Angela Misquith, a Confederate Memorial Day poem was read. Following the poem, a VMI cadet stepped forward to read the names of the cadets killed during the Battle of New Market.

The ceremony was brought to a close with Stonewall Jackson student Isaiah Wolverton playing “Taps” before the retirement of colors and the MMA Corps finished with “Amazing Grace.”

Blakey, the seventh president in the society’s 150 years, spoke afterward about the importance of the society and the need to continue preservation.

“It’s remembrance of these soldiers who fought for a cause they believed in,” Blakey said. “We do this as a memorial service, it’s like attending a funeral. We want to honor them just like they were honored so long ago.”

Contact staff writer Justin McIlwee at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or jmcilwee@nvdaily.com

Regan Whitaker,5, of New Market, places flowers beside the wreath and monument during the Women's Memorial Society's 150th Anniversary service held Monday morning in New Market. Rich Cooley/Daily