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An Open Letter & Open Report / Veterans Day Parade, Knoxville, Tennessee
NOVEMBER 12, 2019
Veterans Day Parade – Knoxville, Tennessee
Dear Ms. Lunelle,
For the past ten years, American Legion Post #2 in Knoxville, Tennessee, has done what no other American Legion Post nationwide has done; “Practiced Content Discrimination against one of its own.”
It has denied an American Veteran the right to march alongside other Veterans in the annual Veterans Day Parade in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, with its Congressional venerated colors. Clearly a violation of the United States Constitution that every Veteran swears an oath to defend.
It’s the Confederate soldier, and his battle flag is the only defense or explanation this Post has put forward to justify this illegal action.
Never mind that the federal command out of Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, employed the unit known as the Dixie Defenders, who wore on their uniform lapel during World War One the Confederate Battle flag as its insignia.
Never mind that during the United Nations conflict known as the Korean War that the American forces carried the Confederate Battle Flag as their colors. And the irony of all of this is that the Southern Cross has appeared in every theater of war that the American forces have appeared in since.
So, on this day of November 11, 2019, deemed Veterans Day, just like the past ten years running, I would don the uniform of the Southern soldier, and make my way along the parade route with his colors in hand down Gay Street to an ovation from the throngs of citizens gathered awaiting to pay tribute to its other veterans.
As I made my way, stopping only to accept a hug or shake a hand, or pose for a photo shot from both young and old and, most importantly, accepting the praise they would bestow upon me. I would continue on to where the parade would end its journey and posted the colors.
It is hard to describe the exhilaration that I would feel during the entire duration of this parade as I returned the salutes from so many of the parade participants, or as I watched as they broke their formations to give me a hug and, most often, a message of thanks for being present.
When the parade finally ended, I would slowly make my way back down Gay Street. As I passed the viewing stand, I would stop and ask one of the dignitaries ….. Is it not time for the Confederate soldier to once again to be allowed to march in this parade? Yes, I agree with you, it is time. Please help us to make it so would be my reply. I shall try would be his reply as he extended his hand to me.
No sooner than he had shook my hand than would a rather large man with a badge on his lapel that read American Legion Post #2 would exit the stage and pass in front of me. I would repeat the same message to him as I had just done moments before…. Sir, I exclaimed, don’t you think its time to lift this unrighteous ban that your post has placed upon the Sons of Confederate Veterans? No, he exclaimed rather gruffly, with an expression on his face that resembled fear as he looked at me. Why, I asked?
I don’t have time to discuss that issue here, he would say, and began to walk away. He is an American Veteran, and his flag is a Congressional venerated symbol that, on this day, was carried by many of these veterans here into war. He turned his back on me and stormed away as a group of citizens looked on, and began to ask me to take pictures with them.
Later that night when I returned home, there would be a message from Mrs. Thomas about a television station, WATE, showing a picture of a veteran in the parade on a motorcycle, pulling up to where I stood and saluting me, and I returning the salute.
My thoughts would return to the many such salutes and hugs that I had received just like this on this day; they would have run out of film had they captured them all. God bless you!
Chairman, Board of Advisors Emeritus, Southern Legal Resource Center
Member, Save Southern Heritage Florida
Honorary Life Member, Longstreet Zollicoffer Camp 87, Sons of Confederate Veterans
Honorary Life Member, Bradford Rose Camp 1638, Sons of Confederate Veterans
Honorary Life Member, Augusta Jane Evans Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy
Honorary Life Member, Zebulon Vance Camp 15, Sons of Confederate Veterans
Honorary Life Member, Kentucky Division, Sons oof Confederate Veterans
Honorary Life Member, Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans
Honorary Life Member, Forest Orphans Camp 1744, Sons of Confederate Veterans
Honorary Life Member, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia, Order of the Confederate Rose
President, Southern Heritage 411