A Triumph In Respect For A Soldier
I love to visit old historically rich places. South Carolina holds a lot of history, being the birth place of the Confederacy. There are still quite a few Civil War remnants for you to visit. One of them, is Elmwood Cemetery. In the middle of the cemetery is a section that was originally reserved for the area troops of the Mexican-American War. This fell by the way side and was then set aside to bury local Confederate Soldiers. They set up a beautiful obelisk in honor of their fallen. Above it, a brass topped speaker’s platform was erected amongst the fallen Union Soldiers buried in the Cemetery. This platform is used every year by the D.O.C. (Daughters of the Confederacy) to celebrate Confederate Memorial Day (also known as Confederate Decoration day in TN and Confederate Heroes Day in TX). In South Carolina, this is celebrated on May 10th, which was the death of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson (1863) and the capture of Confederate president Jefferson Davis (1865). Columbia, SC does not celebrate the national holiday of Memorial Day. I found this very interesting.
Back to the speaker’s platform. It was dedicated in the 1930’s. To rise up on this platform, you must walk over the head and chest of Pfc Jonathan A. Tullen, a Federal Soldier who died after the Civil War in Columbia, during a period of time that is typically called “the Occupation.” Tullen died January 18th, 1968.
It was publicized during tours that this was a way to “get back” at the Occupiers. I honestly get the feeling that when you hear of the stereotypical southerner waving those Confederate flags, still clinging to the thought “the South will rise again”… that’s really the mental image that I get from the attitude here in South Carolina. Well, I complained to anyone that would listen, about what I felt was disrespectful treatment of a Federal Soldier. To be perfectly honest, I don’t care if the Soldier was Union or Confederate, because they were all U.S. Soldiers fighting in a war against their own selves. The grave should be respected.
Finally, someone finally listened. Elmwood Cemetery put up a gate block to prevent people from using that side of the rise to mount the platform. This is fine for me, as he may remain secured where he was interned, and his respect is re-established. Now, if they will only leave the flags there.