Confederate history in the News-Herald, May 16, 2005

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2005

I'm stoked about a new addition to the News-Herald beginning this week.

Fred Taylor, a past commander of the Tom Smith Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans in Suffolk, and now a state SCV official, will begin writing a regular column for us.

Taylor's piece will focus on Confederate heritage in Suffolk and related issues as well as an update on Tom Smith Camp activities.

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The idea for the column arose out of the recent Civil War Weekend activities and the mayor's proclamation of Confederate History and Heritage Month in April.

I wrote in a column at the time that I believed Mayor Ralph was mistaken to make the proclamation because of the large percentage of Suffolk residents who were offended by it. I received some unfavorable feedback from local SCV members, who I invited in to discuss the matter.

Eventually, I was put in touch with Taylor who I found to be an intelligent, friendly person. We began a dialogue which led to his column.

Our relations with the SCV have been strained at times over the years, since then-Mayor Curtis Milteer proclaimed Confederate History Month several years ago. Our problem was not with the SCV, but as mentioned above, the official sanctioning of an event that is offensive to some. As a bit of a history buff, I know the SCV does great work in preserving history and honoring war dead and Suffolk is fortunate to have a group of individuals who are so committed.

We haven't quite ironed out all the details of Taylor's column but look for it by the weekend.

As I mentioned here last week, my boss was in town and I was out of the loop on some of what was going on. On Saturday I was trying to catch up on some of the news I missed and saw our report on the School Board getting bent our of shape over the bluegrass band "Special Ed and the Short Bus," that will be performing later at the new park and marina by the hotel. The apparently were lodging an official protest of some sort with the city.

I'm sorry, but folks need to get a grip. The name is obviously self-deprecating and not intended as an insult to children in the special education program. I hope the city tells the board where to get off.