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An Open Letter & Open Report / Independence Day in Bristol, Tennessee
July 7, 2019
Independence Day in Bristol, Tennessee
Dear Ms. Lunelle,
On July 4, 2019, in a town that borders the Honorable General Robert E. Lee’s home state of Virginia, Bristol, Tennessee, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and their guests would step off in the city’s annual 4th of July Independence Day Parade.
And while all the wonderful people gathered didn’t have airplane flyovers or gun salutes to cheer for, they did have their army: “The Sons of Confederate Veterans.”
No sooner than our “General Lee,” Sgt. Parker, gave the command for their men to march, then it would become apparent that they would steal the day as those gathered would greet us with a thunderous ovation, and the Rebel Yell thrown in to boot.
The more we moved forward, I could only think, “I wish all those who profess to hate us could have been here on this day to witness the love being heaped upon the men in grey, and the colors of the Southern Cross they bore.”
And personally for me, the son of former slaves who, like Holt Collier, Rev. Mack Lee, Levi Carnine, Dr. Alexander Darnes, Horace King, Polk Arnold, Napoleon Nelson, George Mills, Anthony Welters, Emanuel Osborn, John Edgerton, Sam Cullom, Dick Poplar, Alfred Teen Blackburn, John F. Harris, Jason Boone, Christopher Columbus Quarls, and a host of other blacks who would don the uniform of the Confederate soldier, on this day, I would find myself in an arena of incontestable love as the babies poured out from amongst the throngs gathered, tearing themselves from their parents while wrapping their arms around me like bark on a tree.
HK Edgerton giving hugs at Bristol, TN Independence Day Parade
photo by: Jackie Denison
Heck, before it was all said and done, many, many adults would follow suit. And, that would include a young police lady who would proclaim to me, “Mr. HK, I want a hug too.” The other police beside her would remark to me, “HK, please give her a hug; she thinks she is a baby too!”
Thanks to Taco Johns for feeding our contingent after the parade was over for free! It was a great day to be in Dixie, and I hope the Confederate soldiers and our ancestors who now reside in heaven were proud of us. God bless you!
Chairman, Board of Advisors Emeritus, Southern Legal Resource Center
Member, Order of the Confederate Legion, Judah P. Benjamin Camp 2210, SCV
Honorary Life Member, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia Orders of the Confederate Rose
Honorary Life Member, Bradford Rose Camp 1638, Sons of Confederate Veterans
Honorary Life Member, Forest Orphans Camp 1744, Sons of Confederate Veterans
Recipient, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis Medal
President, Southern Heritage 411