Sunday, January 5, 2014

Va Flaggers: Sharpsburg Memorial Illumination

On Saturday, December 7th, several Va Flaggers traveled to Sharpsburg, MD for the 25th Annual Sharpsburg Memorial Illumination.
Every year, hundreds gather to honor each of the 23,110 soldiers killed, wounded, or captured during the Battle of Sharpsburg.  A candle is set and lit for each one.  As the sun sets, the sight is one that is hard to describe...and offers a glimpse of the magnitude of the sacrifice of the men who fought there.
It was our second year attending, and as was the case last year, we were invited by a local Boy Scout Troop to assist the hundreds of volunteers who set up and light the 23,110 candles, and wanted to ensure a Confederate representation during the event. 
With the temperature hovering around 30 degrees and a stiff wind, lighting the candles was a challenge, to be sure.
We took stick CBF flags to pass out and as soon as we passed out the first one, we were bombarded by requests and quickly gave out the first 2 dozen that we had with us.
When it came time for the ceremony, which is attended by the volunteers just before dusk, we went back to our vehicle and got our full sized flags to carry, and another 3 dozen stick flags.  As we approached the gathering, several people stopped to greet us and thank us for forwarding the colors.  One man came up to us and shook our hand as we arrived and said "thank goodness SOMEONE brought the OTHER American flag".  It turns out the gentleman was a member of the SCV.  He and his wife had traveled from Oklahoma to attend the event and he stood with us, holding two stick flags for the duration of the ceremony.
We passed out the rest of the stick flags... and seeing all of those Battle Flags waving in the crowd, a large number of whom were young Boy Scout volunteers, was a beautiful sight to behold!
We were pleased to learn that the featured speaker was none other than Jeff Shaara, the author of Gods and Generals!  One of the volunteer speakers recognized our flags in his remarks, as a representation of the 10,316 Confederate casualties. 
After the ceremony, we posed for a few photos and made our way back to our vehicle, to make the tour of the candlelit battle field.  One cannot help but be moved to tears at the sight...and the thought of the life that each candle represented...and the honor and sacrifice that we must NEVER forget.
Many thanks to the folks who work so hard to make this event possible.  Without exception, everyone, including NPS employees, welcomed us, and our flags warmly and there seemed to be a respectful understanding of the fact that Confederate soldiers deserve and should be afforded the same honor and reverence shown to their Union counterparts. 
Susan Hathaway
Va Flaggers

Va Flaggers Upcoming Events:
Friday, January 17th - Saturday, January 18th, 2014:  Lee-Jackson State Holiday/Flagging/Memorial Events, Lexington, Va.  The Va Flaggers will be flagging Lexington all day Friday, for the Lee-Jackson State Holiday, and participating in the Memorial Services and parade on Saturday, with more flagging Saturday afternoon.  We invite all to join us!  More details soon.  Info from the Stonewall Brigade here:
Saturday, February 1st, 2014:  Susan will travel to Statesboro, GA to speak at the Lee-Jackson Banquet, held by the Ogeechee Rifles, Camp #941, SCV.  RJ's Restaurant, 454 South Main St. (US 301 S.) @ 6 pm for the meal, preliminaries @ 7 pm and the program immediately following.  Seating limited to 125.  Ticket information forthcoming at a later date.
Saturday, February 22nd, 2014:  Susan will be speaking at the February meeting of the Rev. Beverly Tucker Lacy Camp #2141, SCV, Fredericksburg, VA.  4:00 p.m., Perkins Restaurant, 10 Simpson Rd.
Tuesday, March 4th, 2014:  Susan will be speaking at the March meeting of the R.E Lee Camp #1589, SCV.   Dolce Vita Italian Restaurant, 2401 Colony Crossing Place, Midlothian, VA 23112. Dinner at 6:00 p.m. and meeting at 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 20th, 2014:  Susan will be traveling to Columbia, SC to speak at the March meeting of the Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton Camp #273, SCV, Columbia SC. Seawell's Banquet Hall, 1125 Rosewood DR. Dinner at 6:00, Meeting at 7:00.
April 19, 2014, 2014:  Susan will be traveling to Quincy, FL to speak at the Confederate Memorial Day Service at the Soldier's Cemetery, sponsored by the Finley's Brigade, SCV.
Saturday, April 26th, 2014: Susan will be speaking at the Delaware Confederate Memorial Ceremony, Marvel Carriage Museum, 510 South Bedford Street, Georgetown, Delaware, Time: 11AM - 2PM
Contributions to the I-95 Memorial Battle Flag projects may be mailed to:
Va Flaggers
P.O. Box 547
Sandston VA 23150
Payable to Va Flaggers