13TH ANNUAL NATHAN BEDFORD FORREST BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION BEST EVER!
With a backdrop of 45 acres of cotton already laden with white & red blooms, an inspirational invocation given by Rev. Von McQueen, a two-cannon salute, a resounding rendition of "Dixie" and "Happy Birthday" sung by a crowd of approximately 200 kicked off the 13th Annual Birthday Celebration of 191 year old "Defender of Selma, Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forrest at our family farm, affectionately known as "Fort Dixie" Saturday, 28 July 2012 at 3:00 PM. Ya just can't get more Southern than that!
As guests drove from all directions to the site of Ole Bedford's birthday celebration they were guided by a huge white weather balloon which hung high against the clear blue summer sky bearing four colorful flags of liberty, the Revolutionary Gadsden Flag, The Republic of Alabama Flag, the current Alabama State Flag and the Confederate Battle Flag! The balloon flew over Fort Dixie for the duration of the party which was another symbol of "Liberty at Fort Dixie". As hostess of the celebration, I always tell folks that as they pass under the "Fort Dixie" crossbar at the entrance of the driveway, "you enter another dimension known as…FREEDOM!!!" Our standard of excellence is set by the presence of the Lord as this is a Christian Southern Family event and an appropriate Bible scripture depicting such is II Corinthians, 3:17…"Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty." General Forrest's admiring, liberty-loving guests hailed from 11 states; AL, GA, FL, MS, LA, TX, TN, SC, KY, VA and even PA!
Master of Ceremonies, Past SCV Ala Div Commander, Ronnie Simmons, Columbiana, AL, conducted the "Southern Menu" of the day consisting of live Southern music provided by the Tallassee Armory Guards Camp 1921 Band". A special solo was sung by newly-elected Alabama Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Commander, Gary Carlyle of Henagar, AL honoring General Forrest and also a duo featuring Mrs. Linda Patrick, soloist, singing a beautiful rendition of "Shenandoah" accompanied by guitarist Phillip Byers, both of Tallassee. Inspiring speeches kept the guests intellectually mesmerized as Todd Kiscaden of Abingdon, VA gave a fiery oration entitled "Federalism vs Nationalism" and how the War of 1861-1865 changed the total character of our Republic from that of local home rule to complete control of all aspects of politics from the national government in Washington, DC. The keynote speaker was U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Tom McKenney (Ret) of Lexington, KY who gave an excellent lecture on his recent book release, Jack Hinson's One-Man War", the story of a neutral civilian in West Tennessee who was turned against the federal army when the Yankees brutally murdered two of Jack's young sons while the boys were out hunting. Jack Hinson had a special sniper rifle constructed; he then exacted vengeance on the officers in the Union army who had attacked his family, eventually killing at least one hundred without ever being caught! Jack Hinson also assisted General Forrest with his raid at the Union supply dump at Johnsonville, TN. After his address, Mr. McKenney held a very successful book signing. This book can be purchased through www.PelicanPublishing.com.
Throughout the course of the day there was a plethora of door prizes given, an auction with bidders vying for framed Southern prints, Gone With the Wind Collectibles & other Southern themed items, plus ice cold watermelon was served all day long by Host, Butch Godwin, George Denmark and Ron Smitherman.
The point of this celebration is not only just to celebrate the birth & life of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, but also, to adhere to the charge of our Confederate ancestors, to tell & perpetuate the TRUTH of history and the honorable Confederate soldier who lived, fought and died defending the Constitutional Republic as was framed by our Revolutionary forefathers. As a courtesy of Todd Kiscaden, his "Wall of Education" exhibit is always on display at this event which is an education within itself that one will not receive in four years of the college classroom or any classroom on any level of education as history does not seem to be a priority in today's educational system. This exhibit is a premier feature of this event and everyone enjoys it and benefits greatly from it. As I always tell our guests, "We promise you a HOT JULY day at Fort Dixie filled with a lit'l bit of education, a lit'l bit of entertainment, a lit'l bit of good Southern food and a whole lotta HAPPY when you leave Fort Dixie!
At 6:00 PM the eagerly anticipated Southern Fried Catfish supper was served with all the "fixin's" of corn on the cob, red-skinned potatoes, hush puppies, sweet tea, lemonade, General Forrest's birthday cake and a vast selection of homemade desserts furnished by the Southern ladies attending the event, which is a "Southern thing" for Southern ladies to do, as the traditional question to the hostess always seems to be, "What can I bring?" The catfish supper was prepared by Master Chef, "Marse" Robert Holloway of Remlap, Alabama, also a member of Selma SCV Camp, Col. Christopher C. Pegues Camp #62. Everyone says this is the BEST Southern fried catfish this side of the "Big Muddy"…even folks who thought they didn't even like catfish!
There were two very special features of the day; one being an award presentation by Mrs. Tonnia Maddox of Birmingham, President of Alabama Society, Order of Confederate Rose, who presented Mr. Todd Kiscaden with the Rose O'Neal Greenhow Award, highest award given only once a year to a deserving gentlemen for his outstanding contribution toward Southern History preservation. Also, at dusk, Mr. & Mrs. Philip Davis of Montgomery, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary during this past weekend, renewed their wedding vows in an auspicious ceremony presided by Rev. Von McQueen of Selma. At the end of the ceremony, Mr. Davis escorted his lovely bride of 50 years under the arched sabers held at the attention of two Confederate officers! Anniversary cake was enjoyed by all who delighted in sharing this renewed expression of life-time commitment of Mr. & Mrs. Davis.
The climax of the annual celebration was the suspense of the much awaited drawing of the approximate quarter life-size bronze bust of Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, created by Paul D. Spaulding of Hampden, Maine, the original sculptor of the identical life size bronze bust that was recently stolen from the 5 ½ ton granite monument in Live Oak Cemetery. The bust was won by UDC member, Mrs. Molly Tatum of Tallassee, AL.
The 13th Annual Celebration of Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forrest, greatest military genius in U.S. history was another great success - I think the BEST yet, mainly because of the outrage expressed by a multitude of people, far & wide, who are incensed at the theft of this classic work of art. This hate crime has only intensified our resolve to persevere in our struggle against this cultural genocide waged against our Southern people, our history, heritage and culture and Selma's history & heritage! However, the beauty of this GRAND GALA was the "presence" of General Forrest himself, as he presided over his birthday festivities! We, the Friends of Forrest, have had the life-size bronze replaced, poured from the original mold and it is just as beautiful as the original! We look forward to the re-dedication of this monument – an enduring and endearing tribute to Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forrest, referred to by General Robert E. Lee as his most effective general in the entire Confederate Army, getting the most done with the least resources; a man whom he never met.
Yes, as Rose Sanders said recently on her radio program, "THE SPIRIT OF NATHAN BEDFORD FORREST LIVES IN SELMA, ALABAMA AND ACROSS THIS ENTIRE COUNTRY"!!!!
Patricia S. Godwin
Friends of Forrest
Patricia S. Godwin
Friends of Forrest