It is my great pleasure and privilege to bless the flags of our ancestors. Our ancestors carried into battle the originals of these flags here today. Our ancestors hoisted them up the masts of ships and up thousands upon thousands of flag poles all across our beloved Southland. Our ancestors displayed them from their public buildings and their houses and in their churches. Our ancestors and their succeeding generations continued to have this right and privilege, until some self-serving, egotistical, politically correct, injuriously ambitious members within the good Civil Rights movement accused my generation and my childrens' children's generation of being racists and segregationists. Today our ancestors' flags are spit upon as symbols of hatred and white supremacy. Bigoted racial groups and their White politically correct sycophants, and those evil-minded, ignorant revisionists of our Southern history are determined to remove every Confederate flag from ever flying again.
Well, we members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Daughters of the Confederacy and many other American heritage groups will resist, until death do us part, these badly informed, intolerant people from destroying the symbols of our Southern history and culture. That is why we have brought our flags there today for a blessing. You already know why you have brought these flags for a blessing. You already know what such a blessing signifies. It means that we are praying to God to strengthen our resolve to keep our flags flying everywhere and at all times as the means of honoring our Southern history and culture. It means that we are not going to let anyone or any group whether they be White, Black, Hispanic or Oriental, from destroying the honor, goodness, integrity and sacrifices of our noble ancestors. It means that we will stand by the Bill of Rights of our Constitution to fly our flags. It means that we will ask God in our prayers to purify our lives and motives so that all t hat we should say and do in maintaining our struggle to keep our rights will be pleasing in God's sight.
So far I have only talked about the flags of the Confederate States of America. Now I want to say a few words about our United States flag. In a few minutes, I want any re-enactor group or Color Guard that is carrying the U.S. Flag to bring them forward also for a blessing. Why does "Old Glory" need a blessing? Why? Because we must not forget that over the span of many years the Federal Government has betrayed the principles of the Constitutional Democratic Republic that our "Founding Fataher" ancestors gave to us. From the very day that Betsy Ross presented to the Continental Congress the "Stars and Stripes" flag, our Southern ancestors honored and cherished and fought valiantly for that flag. But as t he 1850's drew near, the Federal Government betgan to favor the radical politicians of the Northern States. That government imposed huge tariffs on the South, interfered with the rights of the Soutehrn states and attacked the culture and traditions of the South. That government then declared at totally unnecessary war against the Southern people. It sent ravaging Federal armies marching behind "Old Glory" into the Southland. And our "Old Glory" brought only gory horror to our ancestor's homes, cities and land. So what did our ancestors do? They designed a Battle Flag and several other flags to represent the Righteous Cause of the Southern people to defend their homes, farms, churches and places of work and business. Their flags represented their determination to defend themselves against an aggressor nation. They also were determined to fight that defensive war according to the long-standing and world -wide chivalrous code of civilized warfare - something the Federal Government refused to do! The Confederate Battle Flag was designed with the Cross of St. Andrew in mind, which represents the cross upon which the Apostle St. Andrew was crucified for his faith in our Blessed Lord. And that X-shaped cross represents the Greek letter "Chi" which is the first letter in the Greek work for Christ. Our battle flag which is in the canton of all official Confederate flags has therefore a religious dimension. That is one reason why our ancestors fought so long and so desperately and so gallantly against vastly larger Federal armies. Their flag was a living religious prayer that God would defend them against their aggressor enemy. Their flag was also, as I have said earlier, a symbol for the individual states to have their rights as guaranteed by the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. The Confederate flag was a declaration to the Federal Government that they , the Federal Government, had no Constitutional right to interfere with the freedom of local governments to function according to the needs and desires and the cultural traditions of the local people. Today, my friends, the Confederate flag is a corrective symbol to all our people who fly the flag of the United States of America. Our ancestors' flags remind all the citizens of our United States just how far our country has drifted away from being a Constitutional Democratic Republic to become, slowly but surely, a dictatorial socialist state with visions of world empire.
Bring Betsy Ross' flag along side our Confederate flags. "Old Glory" needs a blessing: a blessing to be forgiven for representing the errors and sins of our own country over the years. It needs a blessing so that it will not repeat those errors and sins again. We must not forget that it was the "Stars and Stripes" that was hoisted up the masts of those ships that brought many of the Negro slaves to our Southern ports. It was the U.S. Flag that provoked and then waged an unnecessary war against Mexico. It was "Old Glory" that deliberately planned and then started the war against the South. Then after that totally unnecessary war of ruthless aggression, the Stars and Stripes, our "Star Spangled Banner", flew over a vicious, vindictive Federal Government that launched a political, psychological and physical reign of terror against our Southland which was already in total ruin. Yes, "Old Glory" flew over an infamous period in our American history known as the Reconstruction Era. The U.S. Flag did not represent a real beneficial reconstruction of the South like it generously disposed and even lavished on a devastated Germany, Italy, Japan and the Marshall Plan in Greece after WWII. Instead, the South was ravaged, robbed and raced by a revengeful, radical Federal Government and their carpetbaggers and scalawags. The Reconstruction period following the War Between the States was everything but real reconstruction. It was the evilly and deliberately planned destruction of the entire Southern American culture. Reconstruction was worse than the horrors of the war itself. And the reconstruction of the South is still going on today! Let us not forget that the U.S. flag rode ahead of the Federal armies in our country's war against one Indian nation after another. It waved over the guts and gore of thousands of native Americans who were trying go defend their lands. It herded them year after year into penal-like reservations thousands of miles from their marginal hunting grounds. We must not forget that "Old Glory" flew over some twenty-five Federal Government P.O.W. Camps that were far more horrible than our Confederate P.O.W. camps, including Andersonville. The U.S. flag flew over Federal P.O.W. camps where more Confederate soldiers and civilians died than Union soldiers died in those Confederate camps. So, as I said, the "Stars and Stripes" needs to be blessed just as our Confederate flags need to be blessed. Today all our American citizens should welcome the flying of the Confederate flags because they are symbols of what our ancestors believed in at the founding of our country.
Now some of you, but I hope not too many, may think that I have been disrespectful of our U.S. flag, or somewhat disloyal to my country. Let me assure you that I do honor my country's flag and that good intentions of my country. I have taken the Oath of Allegiance to the United States several times in my military service. I have fought in combat in WWII and in Vietnam for my country. I salute our National Colors, and if I were ever called to active duty again, I would gladly go wherever I was sent. I honor my country and our flag, but I also know that over the years, our country has changed radically. In my opinion, many of these changes have not been for the better. They have been for the worse. As a minister of the Gospel and a priest, I could elaborate convincingly on that statement I just made, but there is not time for that now. But I will ay that the moral and ethical values f our country will not begin to become better until the Confederate flag is honored again as being an American flag. There are many people in our great land who are filled with hate against our Southern history and culture. They are determined to divide our country into separate, quarreling groups. These people are meglo-maniacal and they should be known by their fruits, namely, the character assassination of our ancestors, and the eradication of the values and culture in which they believed. If these people prevail in this reconstruction of not just the South, but our entire country, then the nation we have known and loved in the past cannot survive. So bring those wonderful flags forward so that I , in the name of Our Lord, may bless them and return them to you to carry them humbly before God, but proudly before men.
Address delivered at the Lee/Jackson Ceremony, Nyman Park, Baltimore, MD on Saturday, January 18, 2004