East Texans share the meaning behind 'Confederate Heroes' Day' - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texans share the meaning behind 'Confederate Heroes' Day'

On Thursday, The State of Texas officially recognized the observance of "Confederate Heroes' Day."

Longview hosts probably the most visible observance, and it continues to draw a small but faithful crowd each year.

This ceremony of honor is still viewed largely with curiosity and skepticism by some East Texans.

Grey-clad soldiers formed at the Gregg County courthouse, in the annual ceremony to remember Confederate veterans.

"What we're trying to do is to get out the remembrance of our Confederate veterans, who died fighting for our country. That's important to me," says Hunter Kramer.

And the reasons they fought.

"What it boils down to is a struggle for constitutional government as our founding fathers established," says Tom Clinkscale, Northeast Texas Brigade Commander, Sons of Confederate Veterans.
 
Celebrators from as far away as West Texas and Texarkana came to be part of the ceremony.

Reta Brand, Texas Order of the Confederate Rose says, "It's just a wonderful way to educate the public about the 1860's, about the war between the states--we honor our Confederate ancestors."

But the "Stars and Bars" is not viewed overall by the African-American community as a symbol of patriotism, and many who passed by glared with an obvious discomfort.

"Some people look at it as racist--flying that Stars and Bars," Brand said, "I'm afraid that may well be the case, and that's most unfortunate, because that is most assuredly not what it was about."

Many young people are now active in the observance, some because they had family who fought in famous Civil War battles.

Primarily they say they're honoring the courage and commitment to freedom of their Confederate relatives, like any other soldier.
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"That's what our Confederate ancestors fought for. That's what many people in this country still continue, so what we do today is not just some semi ancient history relic, it is arguably the most topical issue this country faces today," Clinkscales said.

Around 100 people turned out to Thursday's ceremony, many who had relatives who had fought in the Civil War.

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