Gregg County Confederate Monument & TX Confederate Heros Day 2020

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Rusk County Avengers

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Part One-Monument itself.

If you ever find yourself in downtown Longview, Texas your liable to see several monuments on its front lawn, the largest of which was first erected on June 3, 1911. It was never originally at the courthouse, the one standing now was built in the 1930's. Originally the monument was built near the old railroad depot to greet all folks coming into town in Bodie Park, no longer in existence, dedicated in the presence of a jubilant public and local Confederate veterans and the parks namesake and man of the hour, Mayor Gabriel "Bodie" Bodenheim.

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Excerpts from the Dallas Morning News, June 4th, 1911

"A six years labor of love on the part of the ladies composing the Richard B. Levy Chapter, Daughter of the Confederacy today reached the summit of its ambition in unveiling to the memory of the Confederate Dead of a beautiful monument of Texas granite. The shaft being placed within sight of the city depot, that all who pass, and all who become guests of the city may look upon it, and realize in the words of its chiseled inscription that it is so placed "Lest We Forget".

"The shaft stands in an open space that will be paved, at which time the base of the monument will be surrounded by wall coping, sodded within. Standing thirty-five feet high, it bears on its summit the life-size figure of a Confederate Soldier and below, at its base, the simple figure of a Southern woman engaged in writing the words, "Lest We Forget".

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"The monument was designed by Frank Teich of Llano and erected at a cost of $8,000."

"In his address, Mayor Bodenheim said, in part:"

"We are assembled to dedicate a monument erected in honor of the Confederate Dead. A noble shaft erects its head to the skies in tribute to the Lost Cause. The Daughters of the Confederacy, God bless their immaculate souls, are here to consecrate the work of their fair hands, and throughout Texas, Imperial in her past, Imperial in her present and imperial in her future, the work are doing today is heralded with a cheer and accompanied with a sob. God bless the Noble Women who have made this great day possible; God bless the splendid heroes whose matchless deed we are here to commemorate."

"Men of the Confederacy in the name of the city of Longview, I bid you welcome to the fair city. You will find yourselves among your own people here, and every man, woman, and child within its boundaries stands back of me when I say we honor you beyond words. Your uniforms may be faded, but every thread of them speaks to us of glorious achievement and heroic endeavor, and I had rather have such a uniform to bequeath to my children as a legacy than the diamond bedecked regalia of the greatest king that ever graced a throne."

"This Monument stands for the cause of liberty; it stands for the vindication of American manhood and American bravery; it represents the blood of a nation spent in a cause that to the Sons seemed worthy; it immortalizes Southern chivalry and Southern Womanhood, and do not ever go near it without lifting your hat, for you are standing on sacred ground."

For the record, lets remember the news article and then mayor of Longview's word belong to the era when they were written and spoken.

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I am sorry to say, I don't have the exact date the monument was moved, and can't find the information. I know it was before my Mother's time, the 60's so when my Grandmother's health recovers I intend to ask her as she goes back to the 30's. While I'm not a Longview native, I'm nearby and my SCV Camp is located in Longview, but my parents are natives to there, and my grandparents folks who moved there from the surrounding country for work.

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Rusk County Avengers

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Also for digestion Longview, Texas didn't exist in the Civil War, neither did Gregg County. During the war what is now a bustling small metropolis was a nothing, the nearest place being Earpville, Texas then part of Upshur County. In the 1870's with the advent of the railroad in the region Longview was born, along with Gregg County.

Gregg County is named for Confederate General John Gregg.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Part Two-Confederate Heroes Day at Gregg County Courthouse

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This is an event that has been going for near forty years, according to one of my original mentors who was one of them that helped get it going. After acquiring a stack of 1980's "Walter P. Lane" (now gone) SCV Camp's newsletters, I showed them to that mentor and our aged Camp Commander months back and they were ready to skin me alive because it reminded them of how old they've gotten since then. At this event all the local SCV Camps and UDC come out to celebrate and partake what is something of a tradition of going out there, honoring Confederate Dead, then reading of it in the Longview paper.

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I must admit, I'm proud of there only being one battle flag flying this year. Why stick with that flag when we can use the Confederacy's real, national, flag in book. Standing here is old and dear friend of mine I knew before I was ever in the SCV, a great God fearing man, Michael Hurley. When I left the artillery in reenacting as a young dumb 17 year old, he was one of the greats who took me under his wing in the infantry. I really need to get back out to reenactments more....

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The crowds of the public tend to small at this event in 21st Century Longview, with protesters showing up the past two years spewing hateful rhetoric from their cars. But this year was different, the largest crowd of folks I've seen in a while, oh and no protesters, with a beautiful day after the early morning rain.

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Here is our 5th Brigade's (TX SCV) own Lone Star Color Guard that has been a source of friendship, and the biggest headaches I've had. I'm standing second to left commanding the "rifle squad" and notice, the Stars and Stripes were proudly represented at the front of the flag column. Funny story, when getting my uniform on this morning I noticed that farby brown sack coat I had bought in high school before I knew better (at the time I thought it a frock coat) that had been too large back then. For the first time in years I wore it and discovered in fit me better now than it ever had, reminding me of my constant sorrow where my weight is concerned. I wore it out there, among folks I constantly harp on for wearing farby incorrect uniforms, and got compliments galore on my "new" coat with one friend saying he was glad I finally got something period correct that looked good on me to which I had no words, and just took the complement.

Looking at that coat today it has occurred to me I could switch the buttons out for wooden ones, and add exterior pockets and have a pretty decent citizen sack coat period wise. Save me money on something I want to get anyway, even if the color isn't perfect the cloth itself is pretty decent period wise. I'm liking this idea more and more...
 
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bdtex

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Great pictures and commentary. I hope to not be so busy someday and have time to attend some Confederate Memorial Day events across the South.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Great pictures and commentary. I hope to not be so busy someday and have time to attend some Confederate Memorial Day events across the South.
Talking to the commander of the color guard yesterday, while getting everyone together in hopes of going to Forrest's third funeral, he wants to see something like this happen in Gilmer, TX for the Confederate monument placed by the local camp in 2015. After finishing this Forrest ordeal I'm thinking of organizing it for around April next year, and with the marker for Emma Sansom on the courthouse lawn and her buried nearby I'm thinking of making a day of remembrance for her and her legend as well.

If it goes well I think it'd be a good annual deal for you to attend.
 

James N.

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View attachment 342671

Here is our 5th Brigade's (TX SCV) own Lone Star Color Guard that has been a source of friendship, and the biggest headaches I've had. I'm standing second to left commanding the "rifle squad" and notice, the Stars and Stripes were proudly represented at the front of the flag column. Funny story, when getting my uniform on this morning I noticed that farby brown sack coat I had bought in high school before I knew better (at the time I thought it a frock coat) that had been too large back then. For the first time in years I wore it and discovered in fit me better now than it ever had, reminding me of my constant sorrow where my weight is concerned. I wore it out there, among folks I constantly harp on for wearing farby incorrect uniforms, and got compliments galore on my "new" coat with one friend saying he was glad I finally got something period correct that looked good on me to which I had no words, and just took the complement...
Just remember that dark colors make you look smaller...:D
 
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