Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

“What? What? This isn’t in the program!”

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on June 21, 2010

Rusty Williams, author of “My Old Confederate Home,” gets invited to be the speaker at a Confederate memorial service:

Traditionally, these ceremonies surrounded a lengthy Lost Cause oration, a passionate and animated stem-winder that spoke of the valor of the Confederate soldiers, the constancy of their devotion to the Lost Cause, their patriotism, and their desire for reconciliation. A first-rate orator had lungs like saddlebags, a diaphragm as solid as a manhole cover, and vocal cords more resilient than piano wire. When he chose to turn on the charm, it flowed in irresistible waves; when he intended pathos, women sobbed and men reached for handkerchiefs.

Instead, all they got was me.

I was the keynote speaker for the memorial ceremony, and there was a noticeable lack of oratorical flourish or expertise. (About the only audience response was when a lady keeled over from heatstroke and had to be carried away by paramedics. My father-in-law said he wished he’d thought of it first.)

It’s nice to think that the good folks of Pewee Valley, Kentucky got a good dose of actual historical content rather than the tearful paeans to Lost Cause mythology that are standard fare at such events.

No word if the Black Rose reenactors were there.