An Open Letter & Open Report / Summerville, South Carolina Flower Festival
From: H.K. Edgerton (email@example.com)
Date: Tue, Apr 4, 2017
Subject: An Open Letter & Open Report / Summerville, South Carolina Flower Festival
To: siegels1 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dear Ms. Lunelle,
For the past seven years, the H.L. Hunley Camp #143 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans have participated in, and proudly had on display at the annual City of
Summerville Flower Festival that now attracts more than a hundred thousand spectators; a replica of the Confederate Naval submarine, the H.L. Hunley.
However, this year the YMCA would enter into collusion with a so called community organizer, “Louis Smith,” to keep the Sons and the Hunley from the event. The YMCA
would require the Sons to have a permit, something they had never done before. And then conveniently misplacing the permit form, and the person responsible for its
issuance suddenly not being able to be found. And, no one returning the Camps inquiry of the status of the permit.
Not to be deterred by this hiatus, the Camp went on with their plans to participate in the festival, setting up a booth on the property of one of its members as usual,
and sustaining the expense to bring the Hunley to the Festival.
On Friday, March 1, 2017, opening day, the Hunley would be turned away because the YMCA had not only issued a permit, but also had moved its so called foot print forward
(places for vendor stations) further proclaiming there was no place for the Hunley. Thank God, they would have no jurisdiction over the space of the Sons’ booth.
Later in the day as I, along with Griff, a fellow Camp member, would venture out into the festival in search of a food vendor for lunch, only to be told by a YMCA
official standing next to a police officer, that we could not pass out the many Confederate Naval Jack flags that we had been passing out all day. I didn’t understand why,
but not to cause any friction, I would reply to him alright and, unknown to him, would place the remaining four flags in my pocket so that no one would ask for one.
As we began to return towards our booth, a young Black police officer would yell out to us to stop, pointing to the YMCA official, telling us that he wanted to have a
word with us. The man said that we were technically trespassing, and that he had asked that I not pass out any flags, and that furthermore we were on private property,
pointing to the State road that had been blocked off for the festival.
His mouth would drop as I held up my coat that showed the flags in my pocket. And, I asked him, “Are you implying that we can’t come over here for food?” “Oh, no,” would
come his reply, “But, you have to go back to your booth to pass out anything.” Not having any real knowledge of what all was behind this at the time, I was so confused. I
had expected him to say something about my Battle flag, but, he did not.
Thousands of spectators would visit the Sons’ booth, and just as many would express disappointment about the Hunley Submarine not being at the event. Just as the final
day was winding down, just as we had done from day one, we would pass out the Naval Jack flags, pose for pictures, accept many, many hugs from the spectators. It can only
be analogized as a love fest for those of us don in the uniform of the Southern soldier.
And, then all of a sudden from out of nowhere, a White man showed up with a black flag engraved with the words, “Black Lives Matter.” To the delight of the many who
now gathered around, I would lose my voice as I chided him on where he should go with that flag; into the Black community of Summerville, and one elderly Black woman would
chime in, “Don’t just stop there, Mr. Edgerton. Send him to Chicago, and all over the country, and the many places where Blacks are killing each other every day.” He
would quickly furl that flag, and with his tail between his legs, go as quickly as he had come.
As I sat now at the table in the Sons’ booth signing comic books of the Honorable Nathan Bedford Forrest, Louis Smith would show up shouting obscenities at me. I
attempted to hand him one of my cards. His reply was, “I don’t want anything from you!” So, I just ignored him. This would anger him to the point that he became unglued,
and began to scream how we were committing sacrilege for having our booth just 22 miles from where those honorable Black folks had lost their lives in Charleston.
A parallel that I failed to understand. Had not he, the Northern press, Nikki Haley and the poverty pimps carried that lie about the Southern Cross being responsible for
the deranged acts of Dylan Roof far enough.
Finally, the honorable Summerville police would escort him away. And, I might add a word of thanks and gratitude to the Mayor, the Summerville Police, and the
Summerville Fire Department for making our time at this event a safe and happy time. I hope the Sons will invite me again. God bless you!
Chairman of the Board of Advisors Emeritus, Southern Legal Resource Center