On Sunday, April 17th, several members of Archibald Gracie Camp #985, Sons of Confederate Veterans, met at Grant’s Tomb at the gracious invitation of the Oliver Tilden Camp, Sons of Union Veterans, to pay respects to U.S. General and President Ulysses S. Grant.
Since the event fell on Palm Sunday, many of the Camp’s membership were not able to attend, but there was a good turnout nevertheless.
One of the Camp members marched in the event’s color guard, carrying the Confederate Battle Flag. Interestingly, while many prefer the First National Flag of the Confederacy to be used in events, as it lacks the familiar and more-provocative Starry Cross, The Sons of Union Veterans traditionally prefer the Battle Flag because it is the flag of the Soldier rather than the Seceded Government.
Another Camp Member, in traditional Highland Dress, led the Color Guard procession, playing an assortment of hymns and songs of the War period on his bagpipes.
Rounding out the Southern contribution to the Color Guard was an SCV member dressed in the uniform of a Confederate Officer. The Color Guard gathered around the wall overlooking the lower level tomb housing the remains of General and Mrs. Grant and the event proceeded with remarks from a variety of speakers, including Larry Clowers, a Grant expert who is active in educating the public about Ulysses S. Grant, dressing and performing as the General himself.
Other speakers included Frank Scaturro, of the Grant Monument Association, and George Schall, of the Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Monument Association.
Archibald Gracie Camp Member Michael S. Kogan spoke on behalf of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, saying “Your ancestors in blue fought to restore and preserve their beloved Union and that is an honorable cause. Our ancestors in gray fought that the flag of their fledgling Southern Nation might fly among the banners of the world and that is an honorable cause. But today, 150 years later, it is not the causes that bring us together; it is the honor.”
The Sons of Confederate Veterans are always honored to continue the long-standing tradition of honoring General Grant, and always edified by the friendship and support of The Sons of Union Veterans. Those men are living proof that the Sons of Confederate Veterans have no enemy but ignorance. For those most personally tied to the Union Soldiers who fought understand that soldiers on both sides fought for the right as they saw it. And that all graves filled with bodies given over in service deserve reverent commemoration.