Covington Rifles Camp honors General Lee, essay winners

Published 2:03 am Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has established a tradition of hosting a special meeting in January around the birthdays of Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan Jackson to remember and pay tribute to them. It has also become a custom to invite members of the local Thomas Randolph Thomasson Chapter #2471 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy as special guests and to have a part on the program.


Eight grade student essay winners: Mallory Hall, Orrin Douglas, Laura Leigh Grimes, Audrey Ward, Jackson Bishop, Joseph Driver, Drew Ferguson, Emiley Faith Bush with sponsoring teadher and UDC Member Tammie Evans in rear.
Courtesy Photo

Commander Curtis Thomasson welcomed everyone, and Compatriot Ken Reeves voiced an invocation. All were then asked to join the members in pledging allegiance to the American Flag and Alabama Flag and saluting the Confederate Flag. These were led by Second Lt. Commander Vaughn Bowers, after which First Lt. Commander Larry Shaw led the group in singing “Dixie.” Afterwards, all members and guests were introduced. There was no regular camp business discussed beyond announcements to allow sufficient time for the program. One special event was the presentation of a membership certificate to former compatriot, Richard Adam Bowers, who was renewing his membership.

Next, the UDC members awarded medals to local fourth grade students who had won state level recognition in the Alabama UDC Division Essay Contest for the essays they wrote on Confederate topics. These eight students were from Straughn Elementary School and W.S. Harlan Elementary School. They and their parents/guests were recognized as the students received the coveted Jefferson Davis Historical Silver Medal. (See accompanying picture.)

Sponsoring the annual essay contest is one of the many projects conducted by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to recognize and preserve Confederate heritage. The program offers elementary school students an opportunity to participate in a new writing experience. They are instructed by English teachers who guide them through researching a topic chosen from a provided list. Once they have made sufficient notes on the chosen subject, each student then writes his essay. These are judged by local educators, and the winners are submitted to the Alabama Division of UDC where state winners are named.

Cmdr. Thomasson introduced the speaker for the evening, Roger Broxton, a compatriot of the Covington Rifles Camp. Roger has been a member of SCV for 27 years and a member of the Rifles since 2001. He has been one of the most successful compatriots in promoting and preserving the Confederate Cause throughout Alabama. As chairman of the Flags Across Alabama Campaign, he helped raise upward of 350 flags throughout the state. He with the assistance of Ron Taylor erected a monument with Confederate Battle Flag in the Town of Lockhart near Florala. He regularly writes informative and stirring letters to editors of various newspapers across the state. He was accompanied to the meeting by his wife, Valerie, a retired nurse.

Broxton began his comments by recalling some comments made by General Lee upon the occasion of the death of his daughter-in-law, Charlotte, during the War. Broxton did this as a special way of remembering some loved ones who have been lost recently and who were associated with our camp—Broxton’s father, Compatriot Joseph C. Wingard and Curtis Thomasson’s wife, Margie.

Broxton followed this with a tribute to the great General Robert E. Lee. He shared some highlights from his letters to the editor relative to Lee’s birthday. He cited Alabama Code (Law) 1-3-8, which declares Robert E. Lee’s birthday, Confederate Memorial Day and President Jefferson Davis’s birthday shall be state holidays with Lee’s to be celebrated on the third Monday in January. (His actual birthday is January 19.) “Deceived politicians continue to attack Confederate monuments including that of General Lee falsely citing slavery as their reason. However, Lee did not own slaves during the war, but Union General Ulysses L. Grant owned four slaves. If slavery was not their reason, then why condemn Lee and not Grant.”

Broxton had on display two large portraits, one of General Lee and one of General Jackson. He also had copies available of several of his Letters to the Editor and other memorabilia. Afterwards, Ron Taylor, gave a tribute to Broxton for all the many services he has rendered through the years for promoting and preserving Confederate heritage.

The meeting was concluded with a period of fellowship as everyone enjoyed the array of finger-foods. Appreciation is expressed to those providing the refreshments and to Tammie Evans and members of the UDC chapter for the colorful decorations.

The next meeting is scheduled for Thurs., Feb. 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Compatriot Hank Roberts will give a presentation on General Thomas Randolph “Stonewall” Jackson.