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Maryville High School Red Rebels Veterans Day Program

Arriving at Maryville High School decked out in my Confederate Uniform
I was greeted very warmly by several veterans of various US conflicts
who had gathered in the gymnasium lobby with other guest, parents,
students and staff prior to the Veterans Day Program held by the
students and staff of Maryville High.

Today was probably the saddest day for me in this Southern Civil
Rights Fight. As I sat there in the gymnasium pondering the events
of the program, I could not help think as the colors were posted
; here I sat in the gym in a Southern Town and I can’t post the
colors of the South. When I first arrived in the gym, the babies
in the choir all waved and smiled at me. I stepped over to them,
told them just how nice they looked and that I wished they could
play Dixie. They smiled and nodded in affirmation. Here I sat listening
to the Key Note Speaker talk of how brave , noble , and courageous
all these US soldiers were, and how they fought because of the principles
of the Constitution ; yet here I sat dressed in the uniform of the
greatest and most courageous fighting man ever, at this moment in
time , unrecognized .

I looked around the room at the throngs of young people present
at this gathering and wondered just what must be going through their
minds as young Southerners as they looked upon me; what could I
possibly represent in a room where my flag once recently adorned
the walls so reverently; now forced to leave in shame, and the brave
men who carried her, never mentioned on a day when they called out
the veterans name. When the Master of Ceremonies began to speak
of all men being created equal , I began to feel the urge to leave
; the irony was if you were a Confederate Soldier or loyal Southerner,
equal on this day does not apply.

I suppose there was some solace in the day, as I stood to exist,
I returned the salute of the young Black Air Force Sergeant I had
been sitting next to during the program, and found myself not only
saluting him but also a contingent of other Veterans to include
a disabled Viet Nam Veteran who had lost his leg in Viet Nam , and
who had earlier expressed his pride in me for coming today for the
Confederate Soldier, one of whom was his grand pa.

HK Edgerton