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New Years Day / An Open Report
New Years morning, January 1, 2009, I would don the uniform of the Southern soldier and take up a position on the bridge that overlooks Interstate 26 & I 240. After being there for approximately 2 hours posing for many photograph seekers and having dialogue with so many, Sgt. Mac Creason of the Asheville Police Department would pull his patrol car to where I stood. We would pass our pleasantries and Mac would tell me that someone had called into the station about me being there and that he had told the officers to leave it alone, meaning to not bother me. I have a great deal of affinity for Mac and the men and women of his department who always look out for my well being. Moments later, a young black man would park his car and journey to where I stood. With his hand outreached in a friendly gesture, he almost immediately began thanking me for my courageous stand and honorable convictions.
Almost simultaneously another car would pull adjacent to us. The driver was a young white girl and her passenger was a black young man. She asked what was a black man doing standing on the bridge dressed in a Confederate soldiers uniform flying the Confederate Battle Flag? Before I could answer her, the young black man who stood beside me said, listen, canít you hear, speaking of all the car horns and the rebel yells that were resonating from the freeway below and passing alongside us? Canít you see, he continued as a car containing several young black and white girls stopped and they all got out, hugged me while blocking traffic on the bridge to the delight of all who had stopped behind them; heís lifting the spirit of the Southern people!
I would later in the morning drive over the mountain to Sylvia, North Carolina, park my car and march some five miles up the road towards the campus of Western Carolina College. The scene along the way was much like I had experienced earlier on the bridge in Asheville. If I had a dollar for every picture that I was asked to pose for, or a dime for every conversation to and from my car, surely I could have taken a vacation anywhere in the civilized world in luxury. Later in the evening, I would be joined by Commander Mike Parris of the Jackson Rangers Camp 1917 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and deliver a speech to the Camp members and their guests. It had been a great New Years Day in Dixie.
At the invitation of the Wise County Historical Society and the Ben Caudill Camp #1629 Sons of Confederate Veterans, I would travel over the mountains to the beautiful little town of Wise, Virginia, and on Saturday morning, January 3, 2009, I would be granted the honor of delivering to a pack house at the luxurious Mosbyís Restaurant, the keynote address for the 1st Annual Lee/Jackson Dinner event. At the event more honors would be heaped upon me. I would be presented by the Caudill Camp ďThe General Robert E. Lee Service Award for unselfish service in honoring our ancestors of the South. I would also be appointed Chief Color Bearer to the Commanding Generalís Staff.
For me, the son of former slaves, the honors found at the Table of Brotherhood are quickly amassing. I know that my mom and dad, my ancestors, and all the ancestors of those who look like me, look down from Heaven on high with a great deal of pride.