1998, 1999, 2000, 2002
The Veterans Administration has banned
us from flying our ancestors' cherished Battle flag over their
immortal remains, stating that it was a "mistake", that
it should never have been allowed to fly in the first place (it
had been flying every day for 5 years prior to May 7, 1998 "by the
Lookout POW CEMETERY REMARKS
June 13, 1998
-by Patricia Buck
behalf of the Pt. Lokout POW Descendants Organization, I'd
like to welcome everyone to this,the Confederate POW Weekend.
We're very proud and honored to be a part of this service in
remembrance of the some 50,000 POWs who passed through the gates
of Point Lookout, including the over 8,000 who perished here.
This is our 7th year for making the pilgrimage
to Point Lookout to pay our respects. It's an emotional time
for the descendants as we bond with fellow Southerners whose
relatives were of the same era and circumstance. We're very proud
of the legacy these American POW veterans left us. We're proud
of their deeds, their courage, and their endurance of prison
As you probably already know, the Veterans
Administration has banned us from flying the Confederate Battle
Flag of our ancestors over this, their hallowed grave. I feel
that someone is missing a very important point here! All veterans
should have their flag over their sacred graves, no matter which
country they served under or where they are buried. If we have
U.S. Soldiers from W.W.I, W.W.II, or Vietnam, buried overseas,
I would hope that they've got the U.S. Flag flying over their
graves and not the flag of the country where they lay still in
their graves, dug because they were defending the United States!!!
Why would they want the flag of their enemy over their graves.
That's the flag that put em in there to start with! If
a U.S. Veteran fought under the U.S. flag, then grant him his
country's flag! If a veteran fought for the Confederate Flag,
then grant him his country's flag!!
Their bodies were moved 3 times, ending
here, rather than individual marked graves, ... one huge mass
grave. You think they were all laid neatly and reverently in
this burial pit? They were all thrown in there, bones of arms
and legs all intertwined with one another and the grave diggers
tossed their skulls to each other as if they were on some basketball
court! Why can't we have some respect for these American veterans??
If not then, why can't we now? These were Americans, granted
the right of secession by our forefather's constitution, who
left home and families to uphold that right. It is as if this
is one more slap in the face to Southerners, all in the name
of reconstruction. My friends, southerners are still fighting
reconstruction. It's way past time to end this! Stripped of all
things dear to them, lying in a mass grave, with not so much
as their own coveted flag to fly over their grave. I'm very tired
of hearing that the U.S. Flag is the American' Flag....Our
ancestors were Americans, and the Confederate Battle Flag was
an American flag. It represented the Confederate States of
America! CSA. What does it stand for??? It stands for Confederate
States of America! Now give these American Veterans, their American
Flag over their American hallowed grave! These men buried here,
they did not' take the oath of allegiance. They never'
became citizens of the United States...That's why they died in
Point Lookout Prison Camp. They died as a citizen of the Confederate
States of America!
God in heaven, may their souls soon rest
in peace, for I fear the ground in this Point Lookout Cemetery
is rumbling from a great army that is buried beneath her soil,
crying out for this one last request of honor, to at least have
their coveted Confederate Battle flag over their immortal remains!
They took this flag into battle and they were imprisoned in Point
Lookout for that flag. They could have taken the oath of allegiance
on any given day. They were strong and faithful to their country
and her flag. They chose to die in Point Lookout rather than
surrender their flag. We want it flying 365 days a year! We should
not except any other flag, nor should we except a one day'
per year to fly it only on Confederate Memorial Day. That's compromising.
My ancestor didn't fight for one' day. Did yours? And,
my ancestor was not in this prison for one day. They deserve
'their flag and this is what we want for them, nothing
less is as honorable. We, the descendants don't have a one day
Nothing' meant more to those soldiers
than their coveted battle flag. During battle when captured at
Appomattox River, North Carolina Sgt. George Barbee, who later
spent time right here in Point Lookout Prison, wrapped his unit's
battle flag around a stone and threw it into the river saying "no
enemy of the 44th NC will ever!! have our battle flag! They sank
it to keep it from being captured and in the hands of their enemy
- the enemy who waved the US flag and declared total war on defenseless
seniors, women, children, civilians, and even family pets! At
Appomattox, Confederate soldiers stacked their muskets with precision
and little show of emotion, but when each regiment in succession
had to give the flag it had followed into battle and place it
on a stack of surrendered muskets, the tears and cries of pain
began. Men ran out from their ranks to kiss their flags goodbye,
some tore it into shreds so their comrades could have a piece
of her furled banner, many wept heavily and wiped their tears
in her tattered folds. Nothing will ever take the place of what
that flag meant to these soldiers.
Ladies and gentlemen...these men can no
longer take up the starry cross and fight, we have to'
do it for them. We owe it to them.
I'd like to leave you with the words from
a song by the Rebelairs that goes something like this:
I'm glad I'm from Dixie, where hearts
are strong and true
But that dear anthem has been banned - by people just like you
Now you want to take our flag - that ever proudly waves
Over our grandfathers who are turning in their graves.
Now you don't realize - just what you're trying to do
If I could open up your eyes - the truth might shine on thru
This is the flag - the home- the land - of my dear family and with every
Ounce of strength I'll stand to save their memory.
Why are you, the Veteran Administration
flying a US flag over their graves - they didn't fight for the
United States. Why are you going to put up a POW / MIA flag over
their graves - they didn't fight in Vietnam!
We want "their" flag back - with
them- where it belongs and we must see to it that it happens.
They're no longer here to defend their name/honor, we now have
to fight for' them. Please do your part in helping us return
We hope you enjoy the rest of the service
and your day here with descendants of those who in the past,
trod these hallowed grounds, endured prison life, and is buried
here, beneath the flag of their enemy!
Lookout POW CEMETERY REMARKS
June 12, 1999
-by Patricia Buck
I bring you greetings from the Pt. Lookout POW Descendants Org.
As our name implies, we are ALL descendants of the over 52,000
imprisoned, and the approx. 14,000 who died here. It seems as if
every year when I stand here before you, theres a new discovered
total of how many men who actually died while in Pt. Lookout POW
Camp. This monument behind me is filled with tablets of over 3,000
names that the federal government gave us, stating how many died
here. A couple years ago, Prof. Bart Talbert stood before you,
and stated "Do the math folks, those figures are wrong." The
following year, I came across a writing of Dr. Joseph N. Jones.
He was a civilian when captured at Isle of Wight, VA and sent to
prison here at Point Lookout. Since he had doctoring abilities,
they allowed him to work in Hammond Hospital. Dr. Jones, wrote
that 8,000 died while he was there. Charles Fenwick, now deceased,
who was past President of the St. Marys County Historical
Society stated that they moved 12,000 bodies to this cemetery.
A few months ago, a lady from right here in St. Marys county
joined our Descendants Organization. She called me on the phone
and asked me if Id like to have all this information that
she had on her ancestor who had been in Point Lookout. "Of
course," I stated, "Thats what were here
for, to get recognition for these Veterans and learn the truth
about this prison camp." I read everything that she sent me
on Pvt. James Albert Spicer, 7th VA Inf. Co. K Mr. Spicer had related
a very interesting story about Point Lookout. It was even published
in the newspaper in 1948. As you know, there was a "dead line" inside
the prison pen and if any of the prisoners were discovered near
it, they were shot. You can only image the interest that was peaked
for the prisoners to look beyond those walls. Mr. Spricers
curiosity was about to get the better of him and he couldnt
stand it any longer, so he took the dreaded chance and made it
to the wall one day and got a look of what was on the other side
of that pen. Picture this, of what he relates he saw: one
day I looked through a knothole in our enclosure and could see
acres of coffins stacked one on the other. Believe me, that was
the last time I looked. Pvt. Spicer stated that 14,000 prisoners
were buried while he was in Point Lookout!
Im not going to give a lengthy speech, as I did last year
on the desecration of this cemetery by the removing of our ancestors
flag from this, their hallowed grave...all I would do, would be
to repeat myself, for I still believe and take a stand for everything
that I said. I feel that these men have been dishonored by the
The Confederate. Flag was first erected by a past employee of
the Vet. Adm. who had jurisdiction over this Point Lookout cemetery.
A caretaker who had compassion enough for these men, that he took
it upon himself to fly their flag over their grave. It reminded
for 5 yrs. until the Vet. Adm. stated that it was not in the rule
book, that this is not allowed, so they ordered it down. Were
told that this is not a law that has to be passed before congress
and you vote on it. It is a regulation maintained by Roger Rapp,
head of the Vet. Adm. and upheld by Robin Pohlman, who has jurisdiction
over this cemetery. They have the power to change these regulations,
but refuse to so.
We have been circulating a petition to gather signatures to have
these prisoners flag restored. Over 9,000 people have signed
it! Thats more than the names they gave us on the monument!
Can over 9,000 people be wrong? Why isnt the Vet. Adm. supporting
the wishes of the American people for these veterans? How can the
Vet. Adm. turn their backs on the countless letters and phone calls,
begging for these men to have their flag back? Its been over
a year and everything has fallen on deaf ears. This lame reply
that "these are the rules" are insulting to everyones
intelligence, when they, as tax payers are asking/begging you to
change the rules, that only you, the Vet. Adm. has the power to
do. We know what the rules are, were asking you to change
them, not for us, but for these soldiers who died a merciless,
cruel death in a prison pen. A prison pen designed to murder/kill/and
starve thousands of human beings. Where is your conscience, where
is your heart? This is a unique cemetery, unlike others that contain
union and Confederate Soldiers, it contains all and only Confederate
Veterans. Why does the Vet. Adm. choose to dishonor so many Americans
when so many Americans have pleaded for their last thread of dignity
to be restored to this grave site?
Youre not doing us any favors by "allowing" us
to fly this flag for 1 hr. out of the whole year. Not only is that
out-right discrimination, but is of total disrespect to American
soldiers who gave their all in defense of their homes, land, and
family. Their flag should be over their grave EVERY day.
Take a look at these men standing behind me. Theyre reenactors,
portraying their ancestors...they look good compared to what the
POWs REALLY looked like when they were here. How can you look at
these men and envision about 14,000 of them succumbed to death
in this Prison Camp, buried beneath the very ground your walking,
and sleep good at night?
This is our family....why are you doing this to us? Robin (R.
Pohlman, Vet. Adm. personnel, who has jurisdiction over PL Cemetery)
stated, "Lets not forget why were here today.....the
men." Do you know WHY these men were in this prison camp?!!
THIS FLAG!! This is the flag that they fought for, died for, and
was in this prison for! Theyre buried HERE BECAUSE of that
flag! Why cant they have their flag?? You stated that you
(Robin)were going to paint the fence! We dont need the fence
painted; but, we need and want our ancestors flag back over
their graves. With every once of strength well stand to save
their memory....and well NEVER give up!
Lookout POW CEMETERY REMARKS
June 10, 2000
-by Patricia Buck
(This one was short...I was only allowed 3 min. to speak)
Good morning! On behalf of the Pt. Lookout Prisoner of War Descendants
Organization, I'd like to welcome you to Pt. Lookout and to invite
everyone to participate in the activities that are being offered
Its always a time of mixed emotions to gather here on the
grounds of those who perished at Pt. Lookout. At present we, their
descendants, have only one wish and that is...TO SEE THE POWs CONFEDERATE
BATTLE FLAG 'BACK' UP AND FLYING OVER THEIR IMMORTAL REMAINS.
We know what the Veteran Administration rules state...that only
the US flag is to fly in their cemeteries...and this would be fine...if
only Union soldiers were here...but this cemetery contains the
remains of no other war veterans, except those of the CSA-POWs
from here at Pt. Lookout.
We feel that the Veteran Administration commitment statements
are an UNTRUTH, for they state..and I quote:
- The National Cemetery Administration IS COMMITTED to
serving our nations veterans by meeting their burial
needs with COMPASSION AND DIGNITY.
- The National Cemetery Administrations VISION is
to provide a LASTING TRIBUTE to our nations
veterans by being mission driven, results oriented and customer
- The National Cemetery Administrations PURPOSE is
to maintain National Cemeteries as National shrines, SACRED
TO THE HONOR AND MEMORY of those interred or memorialized
- The National Cemetery Administration's MISSION is
to provide a LASTING MEMORIAL FOR VETERANS.
Each one of their own statements: their commitment, their vision,
their purpose and their mission SCREAMS for honoring these American
Veterans with the flag of their country! Yet, they dont uphold
their commitment to these American War Veterans.
Shame on the Veteran Administration for keeping these men in
the ghostly chains of Reconstruction!
Wed like thank the Vincent Camalier SCV Camp for hosting
this memorial service and thank 'you' for coming!
Lookout POW CEMETERY REMARKS (Uncensored)
June 8, 2002
-by Patricia Buck
I’d like to thank a very special lady for all that she
has done for us here in the PL Cemetery, Ms Grace Pratt.
of you know the story behind our battle with flying our
ancestors’ flag over their mass grave here in the PL
Cemetery. Rick Griffin has tirelessly gone to court several
times trying to regain our Constitutional right to fly
the Confederate Battle Flag. Last summer we were granted
this right to do so for a few months, before they took
this privilege from us again. They put restrictive hours
on us from 9am until 6 pm, making it near impossible
for someone to take on this job. Many of us, including
Joyce Bennett and Jim Dunbar made countless phone calls
and even house visits, seeking someone who would help
us, so we could fly the flag here in the cemetery. Time
after time we were turned down because of the hours or
that it was just too inconvenient for them. One "man" who
lives very near by, "with" an ancestor buried
right here in this cemetery and it wouldn’t have been
too much trouble for him to do this for us... refused "because" he
didn’t want to "get involved" in our flag controversy!
I’m sure his ancestor was turning in the grave behind
me. Finally, upon the recommendation of our good friend
Shirley McKay, Grace Pratt was contacted.
Patricia Buck and Amazing Grace
accepted and carried out a
privileged duty that a man wouldn’t even take on. Grace either walked or rode
her bike to and from the cemetery every morning and every afternoon to put up
and take down our flag. This wasn’t just when she felt like it. This wasn’t just
when the sun was shining. This was done EVERYDAY, whether the weather was bad
or whether it was good...and this includes when it snowed.
doesn’t even have ancestors buried here in the cemetery ...
but she loves these men and she loves upholding our Southern
heritage. I could tell that it truly bothered her when she’d
report that the cemetery was in shambles, that moles that tunneled
up the grounds, that the flood lights didn’t burn, the grass
wasn’t cut until it was over a foot high. And the sincerity
in her voice when she asked.. "Why does the sign on the
gate read "PL Confederate Cemetery" when the Confederates can't
have their Confederate flag?
not only flew THEIR flag for them and us, she cared for the
cemetery as well. The Vet. Adm. does pay someone to come down
here and care for the cemetery. But, it’s not Grace’s paid
job from the Vet. Adm. During the Fall, we had lots of rain
and high winds at The Point. The Vet. Adm. table had been knocked
over several times to the point that it’s door broke and wouldn’t
close and this cemetery was filled with scattered VA papers,
sticks and limbs. A lot of the papers had blown thru the fence
and into the woods. Did the Vet. Adm. come down and tidy up?
No..., but Grace did.
picked up all the papers, took them home, straightened them
out, stapled them and bounded them together. Then put them
back in the book and secured ‘em with rubber bands. She then
returned the papers to the cemetery.
Pratt has labored to honor the PL soldiers in this cemetery.
Here’s a fine lady who has worked to care for the soldiers’ final
resting place far beyond the call of duty.
Point Lookout POW Descendants Org. would like to present Ms
Pratt with the Kath Davidson Blockade Award. Kath Davidson,
the Blockade runner, was a lady who was imprisoned in PL for
aiding the Southern Cause. She was captured just down the road
from here, in Leonardtown. If Kath Davidson was here today,
she’d have flown that Confederate Battle Flag in this cemetery.
But, Kath has long since been gone, but I believe that the
spirits of these men buried in this cemetery sent Grace Pratt
to us. Grace ran the federal judicial blockade on many occasions
with the battle flag. And, she ran it everyday until the judge
made that final past due call and intercepted. Grace is truly
our Kath Davidson of yester-year! Thank you and we love you!
Now, I’d like to introduce Rick Griffin...who
really needs no introduction. He’s the past Commander in Chief
of the SCV and JB has informed me that his new title is Defender
In Chief. This, I would heartily agree. Rick’s also a long
time member of our Descendants Org. I’d like to mention that today,
I handed Rick our Flag Petitions with a near 16,000 signatures
collected from all across the U.S. stating that they wanted the
Confederate Battle Flag returned to this cemetery. I’d also like
to state, that it’s because of this man’s tireless leadership efforts
that one day, we will stand in this cemetery under our ancestor’s
Confederate Battle Flag, for we will rally behind Rick and fight
to the end for that flag. Please welcome Rick Griffin....
Stand up. . . for what you believe in.
Stand for something or you will fall for anything.
Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time,
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up...."