Letter to the Editor: Point of ceremony was to honor veterans


The essence of the snide, condescending, supercilious commentary by Roger Barbee in the Nov. 18 edition of the Northern Virginia Daily is to belittle “those people” — (his dismissive term — who organized and attended the Veterans Day ceremony at Our Soldiers Cemetery in Mount Jackson honoring American veterans. He called the ceremony a “mockery” and did everything but label the organizers and participants rednecks and racists.

The ceremony was organized by Capt. Jack Adams Camp No. 1951, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the trustees of Our Soldiers Cemetery. The camp preserves and restores monuments to and the headstones of Confederate veterans and conducts educational programs for its members and guests who embrace not only Civil War history, but also the local history of the Shenandoah Valley and Shenandoah County.

The Commander of Capt. Jack Adams Camp is a retired middle and high school teacher and an ordained minister. Members include the man who is, arguably, the largest non-governmental employer in Shenandoah County, two historians who have written books on Shenandoah County history, active and retired high school teachers, a former college teacher, county election officials, small business owners, retired federal government officials, and a significant number of veterans of the U.S. military.

Barbee obviously does not know that the Department of Veterans Affairs will supply headstones for the graves of Confederate veterans not otherwise marked, clearly showing that the Department of Veterans Affairs considers Confederate veterans every much American veterans as those from other American wars.

The speaker was noted historian Richard B. Kleese, who provided a history of the Mount Jackson Confederate hospital complex and the approximately 425 Confederate soldiers who died there and are buried in Our Soldiers Cemetery. It was not, as Barbee incorrectly surmises, a celebration of the lost cause. Despite Barbee’s claim, the Confederate flag has never been flown above the United States flag at Our Soldiers Cemetery.

The point of the Veterans Day ceremony at Our Soldiers Cemetery was to honor the memory of American veterans who fought and died honorably for a cause in which they believed. The only mockery is Barbee’s ill-informed attack.

R. Patrick Murphy, Basye