2001, 2002, Flag Bearer Proclamation
|2002 Speech for Confederates at Point Lookout
The following "uncensored" remarks were delivered to the Point Lookout Prisoner of War Descendants Organization at their meeting, June 8, 2002. Although we Americans do have a Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech, the Vet. Adm. denied Rick Griffin the right to give this speech in the Pt. Lookout Confederate Cemetery.
|Respect for Confederates: Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery
June 8, 2002
-by Patrick J. Griffin, III
The following represents the speech the Veterans Administration said was inappropriate for delivery in a VA Cemetery, and then threatened enforcement of criminal sanctions against me and the Captain Vincent Camalier Camp #1359 if I were to deliver the speech. Veterans Administration officials also stated the Camalier Camp may jeopardize its ability to conduct future ceremonies at Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery if I delivered the remarks in the cemetery.
As you are aware, we went to federal court seeking a temporary restraing order against the Veterans Administration to prohibit them from applying criminal sanctions to the delivery of free speech. The judge failed to grant the order and said this was a "contnent" argument and not a "viewpoint" argument.
Greetings to various groups and individuals.
In my opinion building respect for Confederate soldiers and their families has become increasingly difficult in contemporary times. It used to be that families and friends of Confederate soldiers marked their graves and maintained their plots with reverence and dignity. Women's relief organizations and Confederate aid societies assisted the remaining veterans and conducted memorial ceremonies to honor the memory of Confederate veterans until they passed such obligations on to the next generation, and succeeding generations. They were unencumbered by political activists, government regulation, or insidious flag policies contrived to limit the display of the Confederate Battle Flag.
Even Pvt. Samuel Postlethwaite, a Mississippi Confederate veteran, who was buried in Rhode Island, received the dignity of a Confederate marker, a Confederate ceremony with an honor guard, Confederate flags, and the courtesy of the Rhode Island state government which sent a representative with the state's flag of "hope" to honor this veteran. There was no wrangling over a particular day for this service. There was no objection to Confederate flags on this day. There was respect for this Confederate soldier, and that state's government, along with all in attendance honored the memory of a Mississippi soldier buried far from home.
Just like Samuel Postlethwaite, all of the soldiers interred here at point lookout became citizens and soldiers of the Confederate States of America. They fought for their hearths, homes, principles, and families under Confederate flags. They spent Confederate currency, and used Confederate postage stamps and Confederate bonds. They elected a president, senators, representatives, and state and local officials according to a Confederate constitution and codified rules of law. They located their nation's capitol in Richmond, Virginia, and formed government agencies, educational Institutions, an army, a navy, a marine corps - all parts of a new country called the Confederate States of America. By any standard these soldiers were Confederate soldiers in 1865 and they remain Confederate soldiers today!
The soldiers here at point lookout deserve to have the banner they fought and died under flying over their graves every day as a symbol of their honor, courage, contemporary decency, and respect for their memory and spirit - just as Maryland Federal Court Judge William N. Nickerson ruled in his decision last year.
These soldiers enjoyed the respect of their flag flying daily over their common graves until the veterans administration appealed the case, and 4th circuit U. S. Court of Appeals Judge J. Michael Luttig reversed the Nickerson decision by finding his own opinion that Confederate soldiers are all Americans, and therefore the flag policy of the veterans administration is adequate.
Hogwash! These Confederate soldiers deserve much more than the dishonor and disrespect shown by Judge Luttig in his personal opine and ruling. These soldiers deserve much more than a perniciously contrived flag policy promulgated by veterans administration officials who appear to curry favor with the politically correct crowd. Regulatory insults to the memory of Confederate soldiers and their descendants must be corrected, and we will continue to lead the fight and take to the courts to restore flying the Confederate Battle Flag at this Confederatecemetery on a daily basis.
Now, I ask each of you to look around this cemetery and discover where the veterans administration's respect can be found for our Confederate soldiers? Certainly not on the intermittently mowed grounds full of crab grass, weeds, and bare spots. Certainly not at the large obelisk which shows signs of settlement because of neglected caulking. Look at the wrought iron fence - all 832 linear feet of it, and the gates - full of rust, chipped paint, separations, broken welds, and falling over in places. View the two outbuildings in a sad state of disrepair - peeling paint, tired roofs, broken glass, and openings to accommodate a habitat for small critters. It would appear as though veterans administration officials are honoring our heroic ancestors with a deliberate program of demolition by neglect.
Look at the shameful condition of the united states flag pole - rusted, and paint weary, and standing as an unkempt insult to all American veterans and their families.
From the streetscape this cemetery looks like a haven for society's misfits, not a place of honor where proud Americans can come to respect ancestors and those who honorably served the Confederate States of America. Why, the veterans administration won't even afford the public with safe parking for the occasional visitor. And imagine the reception you get when it rains - standing water several inches deep at the front and only gate.
Folks, conditions such as these don't exist at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, or even up the road at Loudon Park National Cemetery in Baltimore.
So, today I choose to use this nonpublic forum, where our Confederate heroes are buried, to raise awareness, and shame the veterans administration into showing respect for point lookout's Confederate soldiers by placing adequate tax payer's funds into their operating budget to overcome caveats created by their own neglect and mismanagement. A little grading, a small amount of turf builder, some caulk, a few welds, and a bucket of applied paint could quickly transform this cemetery from a public embarrassment into a reasonably attractive and respectful place of interment. When will the veterans administration act? They have been aware of these conditions for over four years!
Perhaps the veterans administration would have some funds for this cemetery if it weren't too busy using our tax dollars to defend pernicious rules aimed squarely at disrespecting our Confederate ancestors and denying some of us the constitutional rights that many present-day veterans have fought to preserve.
Folks, even the Federal Circuit U. S. Court of Appeals challenges the veterans administration on their Regulation #38c.F.R. @ 1.218 (a)(14) As being “grossly overbroad.” And, they go on to say, "indeed, it reads like a law school examination question in which law students are invited to find the maximum number of serious constitutional issues raised by a hypothetical ordinance."
Section 1.218(a)(14) is indeed grossly overbroad. It forbids a vast amount of entirely innocuous speech, including the speech I am giving at this moment. It may surprise you, but for speaking in opposition to a government policy on VA property, a person may be arrested, fined, and put in federal prison for six months. The VA’s discrimination against the Confederate Flag is of course a VA policy, as is the VA’s unconstitutional restrictions on verbal speech. You might be tempted to ask in light of all this, is this America?
Friends, the VA’s flag policy is no hypothetical ordinance. It is an insidious policy written by bureaucrats who are used to hiding behind office partitions out of public view. They apparently feel safe and free to promulgate rules designed to single out Confederate symbols as objectionable for display 363 days of the year. They apparently feel safe and free to ignore the constitution while making policy designed to separate Confederate descendants, and for that matter all Americans, from free speech in nonpublic forums.
Well, faceless bureaucrats, consider yourselves put on notice that your "big brother" activities will be challenged at every turn, and that we aim to restore constitutional rights here at Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery by court order, and in every cemetery under the VA’s charge across this proud nation.
Thank you very much.
Veteran Administration Regulation #38CFT@1.218(a)(14)
For the purpose of the prohibition expressed in this paragraph, unauthorized demonstrations or services shall be defined as, but not limited to, picketing, or similar conduct on VA property; any oration or similar conduct to assembled groups of people, unless the oration is part of an authorized service; the display of any placards, banners, or foreign flags on VA property unless approved by the head of the facility or designee; disorderly conduct such as fighting, threatening, violent, or tumultuous behavior, unreasonable noise or coarse utterance, gesture or display or the use of abusive language to any person present; and partisan activities, i.e., those involving commentary or actions in support of, or in opposition to, or attempting to influence, any current policy of the Government of the United States, or any private group, association, or enterprise.
It may surprise you, but for speaking in opposition to a government policy on VA property, a person may be arrested, fined and put in federal prison for 6 months. The VA's discrimination against the Confederate Flag is of course a VA policy, as is the VA's unconstitutional restrictions on verbal speech...Rick Griffin
The history of honoring the Confederate dead interred at the Pt. Lookout POW Cemetery has been as insane as the conditions the prisoners were kept in. With a villainous-like Veterans Adm. playing the part of the vengeful prison guard, our ancestors are not allowed to rest under the flag that they so bravely fought with the in the name of Independence and Liberty. In another instance of Confederate bashing, the Vet. Adm. has now even squashed basic Constitutional rights of American, taxpaying citizens.
On June 8th, at the annual Pt. Lookout POW Memorial Service, the yankee government struck again. One of the speakers was Rick Griffin. Rick had planned to say some rather unflattering comments about the way the Vet. Admn. continuously disrespects not only those that were lost and are buried at Pt. Lookout, but all those of Confederate reputation. However, the Vet. Adm actually has a rule book that says no one is allowed to speak poorly of the Vet. Adm. in one of their cemeteries in a public forum. Since Rick knew that he was going to be in violation of the regulation, he, with appropriate legal counsel asked the U.S. Fed. Court for MD to issue a Temporary Restraining Order against the actions of the Vet. Adm.
Despite a well prepared legal case and a more than fully disclosed course of action to the Vet. Adm., the Dist. Court judge declined to issue the TRO. He stated that the Vet. Adm. is not practicing "viewpoint discrimination" when trying to stop a speech such as the one that Rick Griffin was prepared to give. Since, as the judge reasoned, the speech was content specific, it did not really represent an entire viewpoint. Therefore, Mr. Griffin's First Amendment rights under the Constitution were not violated. Like President Clinton trying to define what wasn't sex with that woman, Ms Lewinsky, this federal judge declared that because the Vet. Adm. prohibits complimentary and negative speech in reference to government policy, viewpoint discriminating did not exist and Vet. Adm. policy is not a violating of someone's First Amendment Right. If this dealt with national security or insider trading, most of us would understand and readily agree. But this is just another slap in the face of every Confederate soldier, family member and descendant that has ever been or ever will be.
|Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery Remarks
-by Patrick J. Griffin, III
GOOD MORNING. I THANK THE CAPTAIN VINCENT CAMALIER CAMP FOR THEIR KIND INVITATION TO ADDRESS ALL IN ATTENDANCE HERE TODAY. IT IS ALWAYS NICE TO BE WITH MEMBERS OF THE UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY, FELLOW COMPATRIOTS IN THE SCV AND THE MOS&B, CONFEDERATE DESCENDANTS IN THE POINT LOOKOUT POW ORGANIZATION, KINSMEN IN THE VARIOUS SCOTTISH ASSOCIATIONS, FEDERAL EMPLOYEES FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, AND FRIENDS REPRESENTING THEMSELVES OR OTHER ORGANIZATIONS BECAUSE THEY CARE ABOUT THE MEMORY AND HONOR DUE THE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS WHO ARE INTERRED HERE AT POINT LOOKOUT CONFEDERATE CEMETERY ‑ONE OF SEVEN SUCH ALL‑CONFEDERATE CEMETERIES UNDER THE CHARGE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION.
PLEASE BEAR WITH ME FOR JUST A MOMENT WHILE I DO A LITTLE PUBLIC HOUSE CLEANING. IS MORRIS DEES HERE TODAY? HOW ABOUT A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER? WELL, SHOULD THEIR UNDERCOVER AGENT RUN LOW ON BATTERIES I HAVE SOME TO LEND, BECAUSE I WANT TO MAKE SURE HE GETS THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS CORRECT FOR THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE INTELLIGENCE REPORT.
NO, THE SCV IS NOT PART OF A NEO‑CONFEDERATE MOVEMENT. WE ARE PROUD DESCENDANTS OF CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS AND BELONG TO A 105 YEAR OLD ORGANIZATION SWORN TO UPHOLD THE HISTORY AND HONOR OF OUR CONFEDERATE FOREBARES.
THE SCV HAS NOT BEEN TAKEN OVER BY NEO‑CONFEDERATE IDEOLOGUES. OUR OFFICERS AT EVERY LEVEL ARE ELECTED BIENNIALLY TO ACT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE SCV ONLY.
THE SCV HAS AN AFFILIATION POLICY WHICH STATES THAT OUR ORGANIZATION IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH ANY ORGANIZATION, EXCEPT THE MILITARY ORDER OF THE STARS AND BARS.
4) THE LADIES IN THE ORDER OF THE CONFEDERATE ROSE SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES, ASSIST THE SCV IN SETTING UP FUNCTIONS, AND THEY ADD A REAL NICE TOUCH TO OUR CEREMONIES.
WE PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND WE SALUTE THE CONFEDERATE FLAG. NOTE THE DISTINCTION!
YES, MANY OF US WEAR BUSINESS SUITS, DRIVE BUICKS, AND HAVE ADVANCED EDUCATIONAL DEGREES. NO ONE SHOULD FEEL THREATENED BY THAT, WE ARE GOOD FOR AMERICA.
REVIEW THE SCV WEBPAGE AND HISTORY HANDOUTS AND DISCOVER MANY CONTRIBUTIONS TO SOUTHERN CULTURE MADE BY BLACKS, AMERICAN INDIANS, JEWS, AND OTHER AMERICANS.
YES, WE INTEND TO BE INCREASINGLY VISIBLE WHILE WE DEFEND AND PROMOTE OUR HERITAGE. WE ARE PROUD OF IT.
GO FLY A KITE INSTEAD OF TRYING TO LUMP THE SCV INTO ONE OF YOUR CONSPIRACY THEORIES. WE ARE GOOD SOLID CITIZENS WHO WORK VERY HARD TO IMPROVE OUR COMMUNITIES AND THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ALL AMERICANS. CONFEDERATE DESCENDANTS IN THE POINT LOOKOUT POW
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PATIENCE & LETTING ME MAKE CORRECTIONS TO THE LAST SPLC INTELLIGENCE REPORT.
NOW, BEFORE WE GET BACK TO THE PURPOSE OF THIS ASSEMBLY, WHICH IS OF COURSE, TO HONOR OUR CONFEDERATE ANCESTORS, AND MORE PARTICULARLY, THOSE WHO REST HERE IN THIS CONFEDERATE CEMETERY, LET ME SHARE WITH YOU A BRIEF OBSERVANCE.
IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION IN RECENT LITIGATION PAPERS GERMANE TO THIS CEMETERY, THAT THE GOVERNMENT KEEPS A COUNT OF ALL THE LITTLE CONFEDERATE FLAGS IT’S PERSONNEL REMOVE FROM THIS CEMETERY. THEIR LANGUAGE INDICATES THEY ARE RATHER PERTURBED OVER SUCH FREQUENT OCCURRENCES, AND ONE OF MY ATTORNEY’S WAS CONTACTED BY THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AND REMINDED THAT JUDGE NICKERSON DID NOT PROVIDE FOR SUCH DISPLAYS IN HIS RULING. NOW I CAN’T IMAGINE WHY THEY WOULD CALL ONE OF MY ATTORNEY’S TO COMPLAIN.
BUT, LET’S THINK ABOUT THIS FOR A MOMENT. THE PEOPLE WHO COME HERE AND LEAVE BEHIND A MINATURE CONFEDERATE FLAG ARE NOT BAD PEOPLE, OR THOSE WHO HAVE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IN MIND. THEY MOST PROBABLY DON’T KNOW ANYONE AT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, AND ARE NOT COGNIZANT OF PROHIBITIVE DIRECTIVES DESIGNEDTO LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF HONOR A PERSON CAN BESTOW ON A CONFEDERATE SOLDIER WHILE THEY VISIT THIS CEMETERY.
THE FLAG‑PLACING VISITORS ARE PROBABLY AVERAGE AMERICANS WHO HAVE COME A LONG WAY TO PAY THEIR RESPECTS TO AN UNFORTUNATE ANCESTOR WHO DIED HERE OVER 136 YEARS AGO. THEY FEEL THAT RUSH OF ADRENALIN AS THEY DISCOVER A SOLDIERS NAME FOR THE FIRST TIME ON ONE OF THE PLAQUES, AND I AM SURE THAT MANY OF THEM CRY AT THAT MOMENT ‑I KNOW, BECAUSE I HAVE SEEN IT. WHEN THESE AVERAGE PEOPLE LEAVE BEHIND A SMALL CONFEDERATE FLAG IN HONOR OF THEIR ANCESTOR, THEY ARE GOING THROUGH THE SAME RITUAL THAT THEY WOULD PERFORM IN CHURCH WHEN THEY LIGHT A CANDLE IN MEMORY OF A DECEASED FAMILY MEMBER. IN FACT, THE ACT OF LEAVING BEHIND A SMALL BATTLE FLAG IN THIS CEMETERY IS NO DIFFERENT THAN PERMISSIBLE FORMS OF EXPRESSION AND TRIBUTES LEFT BEHIND ON NATIONAL PARK SERVICE PROPERTY AT THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL, SOME SEVENTY MILES NORTH OF HERE IN WASHINGTON, D. C.
SO, I WOULD PROPOSE THAT RATHER THAN HAVE A DICHOTOMY IN GOVERNMENT AGENCY POLICIES, THAT SENIOR OFFICIALS AT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION EXHIBIT SOME COURAGE, SENSITIVITY, AND LEADERSHIP BY DESIGNATING A SMALL PORTION OF GROUND FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO LEAVE BEHIND A MOMENTO OR A SMALL FLAG TO HONOR THEIR RESPECTIVE ANCESTOR WHO MAY REST IN ANY OF THE NATIONAL CEMETERIES. I AM SURE SUCH A POLICY WOULD BE WELL RECEIVED BY THE PUBLIC, AND IT COULD BE INITIATED RIGHT HERE AT POINT LOOKOUT CONFEDERATE CEMETERY. THERE’S OVER AN ACRE OF GROUND, AND A SMALL 10 FT. X 10 FT. PLOT IS ALL THAT WOULD BE REQUIRED. PERHAPS WE CAN DISCUSS THE MERITS OF SUCH A PROPOSAL WITH OFFICIALS LATER TODAY.
FITTING TRIBUTES TO OUR ANCESTORS AND THE PRESERVATION OF THEIR SYMBOLS UNITE ALL OF US ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS SUCH AS TODAY. WE SHARE MANY COMMON BONDS AS WE VIEW THE CONTEMPORARY BEAUTY OF THE FLAGS THAT ARE SIMILAR TO THE ONE’S FAMILIAR TO POINT LOOKOUT PRISONERS OF WAR. THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH THE USE OF THE ORIGINAL CONFEDERATE FLAGS AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THE LEGITIMATE USE OF THOSE REPRODUCTION FLAGS TODAY.
MY GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER SERVED HIS COUNTRY PROUDLY UNDER THESE FLAGS, AND HE WAS MOST PROBABLY JUST LIKE YOUR ANCESTOR. PVT. JAMES ANDREW JACKSON COKER, CO H, 39TH GEORGIA INFANTRY, KISSED HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN, BADE THEM ALL FAREWELL, AND WENT OFF TO WAR. HE LEFT BEHIND EVERYTHING HE OWNED AND VALUED. HIS WIFE AND FOUR YOUNG CHILDREN, THE ELDEST WAS MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER AGED NINE, HAD TO FEND FOR THEMSELVES FOR FOUR YEARS WHILE RUNNING A SMALL FAMILY FARM. WHY WOULD JAMES A. J. COKER ABANDON HIS FAMILY AND RISK HIS LIFE TO AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE AS A SOLDIER IN THE CONFEDERATE ARMY? HE WENT TO WAR BECAUSE OF A SENSE OF DUTY, HONOR AND REGIONAL PRIDE, WHICH WERE QUALITIES SHARED BY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF LIKE‑MINDED MEN WHO JOINED FORCES TO RID THE NEW NATION OF AN AGGRESSIVE INVADER. JAMES A. J. COKER DID WHAT HIS FAMILY AND COMMUNITY EXPECTED OF HIM ‑HE BORE ARMS AGAINST THE FORCES OF AN OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT THAT SOUGHT CENTRALIZED POWER AT THE EXPENSE OF STATES RIGHTS, INSTITUTED HIGH TARIFFS ON AGRICULTURAL GOODS, AND WERE THE PRACTIONERS OF LARGELY ONE‑WAY TAXES FOR THE BENEFIT OF AN INDUSTRIALIZED NORTH. QUITE SIMPLY, AT THAT TIME MOST SOUTHERNERS FELT THAT DEFENDING THEIR OWN COUNTRY WAS A BETTER ALTERNATIVE THAN PARTICIPATING WITH A YANKEE GOVERNMENT THEY CONSIDERED OUT OF CONTROL, INFLUENCED BY FANATICS, AND COULDN'T BE TRUSTED.
THAT’S WHY HE AND THE MAJORITY OF FARMERS, WHOSE ONLY LABOR SUPPLY WAS THEIR OWN FAMILY UNIT, ANSWERED THE CALL FOR SOUTHERN INDEPENDENCE. THESE MEN AND THEIR FAMILIES WERE THE VERY ESSENCE AND FABRIC OF AMERICAN LIFE. THEY WERE CONSIDERED PATRIOTS ADDRESSING THE TYRANNY OF AN OPPRESSOR ‑JUST LIKE THEIR GRANDFATHERS HAD DONE DURING THE FIRST AMERICAN REVOLUTION SOME 85 YEARS BEFORE.
SO TODAY WE COME TOGETHER TO HONOR THAT SPIRIT AND CELEBRATE THE COURAGE OF THOSE SOLDIERS, AS WELL AS THE FORTITUDE AND RESOLVE OF THE FAMILIES THEY LEFT BEHIND ‑ TO TEND TO THE HEARTHS, PLOW THE FIELDS, HARVEST THE CROPS, AND PRAY FOR THEIR SOLDIERS SAFE RETURN.
BUT, YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT THERE ARE FORCES IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR THAT SEEK TO LIMIT OR ELIMINATE THE OBSERVANCES WE CONDUCT TO HONOR OUR CONFEDERATE ANCESTORS. THEY TRY TO FOIST ON THE PUBLIC A PERCEPTION THAT THERE IS SOMETHING SINISTER, CONTROVERSIAL, OR RACIST ABOUT OUR CEREMONIES.
YOU SHOULD NOTE THE EXISTENCE OF ORCHESTRATED ACTIVITY, AIMED AT US OVER RECENT YEARS IS ON THE RISE. FIRST, THEY TRY TO TARNISH THE PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE USE OF CONFEDERATE FLAGS BY DELIBERATELY SPREADING MISINFORMATION TO A WILLING MEDIA. NEXT THEY ATTEMPT TO INITIATE A PERCEPTION OF CONTROVERSY BY ACTUALLY PICKETING SOME OF OUR CEREMONIES IN AN EFFORT TO CREATE A MEDIA OPPORTUNITY. THEY CALL FOR THE REMOVAL OF OUR PUBLIC MONUMENTS AND LABEL OUR SYMBOLS AS TRIBUTES TO WHITE SUPREMACY. AND NOW, THEY HAVE ADDED A NEW GROUP TO THEIR EXPANSIVE LIST OF TARGETS ‑RE-ENACTORS.
YES, NATIONWIDE OPPOSITION TO WAR BETWEEN THE STATES REENACTING IS NOW DEEMED AS FAIR GAME FOR PROTESTS, WITH RACISM AND HATRED BEING CITED AS THE REASONS. OUR DETRACTORS STATE THAT SUCH ACTIVITY BRINGS DISHARMONY AND DISRUPTS SOCIAL AND CIVIL PEACE. SUCH STATEMENTS ARE FURTHER EVIDENCE THAT THERE IS AN ORGANIZED GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO ARE DETERMINED TO CREATE CONTROVERSY WHERE NONE PREVIOUSLY EXISTED.
YOU CAN SEE WHAT SOME GROUPS ARE TRYING TO DO. THEY ATTEMPT TO DIVIDE AMERICANS BY FOSTERING NOTIONS OR PERCEPTIONS OF RACIST ACTIVITY WHERE CLEARLY NONE EXISTS. THIS ORGANIZED AND INSIDIOUS UNDERTAKING IMPLIES THAT WE ARE TODAY’S VILLAINS WHO ARE SOMEHOW LINKED TO QUESTIONABLE ACTIVITIES AND SUSPICIOUS SOCIAL MOVEMENTS.
MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT. OUR DETRACTORS ARE OPPORTUNISTS ON A MISSION TO CREATE ISSUES DESIGNED TO MAKE THEM APPEAR AS VICTIMS WHILE DENIGRATING THE MEMORY OF OUR CONFEDERATE ANCESTORS AND THE REPUTATION OF ANYONE WHO DARES TO CHALLENGE SUCH MEAN‑SPIRITED AND FAULTY NOTIONS.
TODAY’S HERITAGE ATTACKS ARE ABOUT POLITICAL POWER, ORGANIZATIONAL GROWTH, AND THE ACCRUAL OF SIGNIFICANT DISPOSABLE ASSETS. PROMOTING CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IS A SNEAKY RUSE TO ACCESS THE MEDIA AND UNFAIRLY TARNISH THE LAWFUL AND LEGITIMATE ACTIVITIES OF PEOPLE WHO CONTRIBUTE TO SOCIETY, AND JUST HAPPEN TO BE SOUTHERNERS AT HEART, SOUTHERN IN SPIRIT, AND SOUTHERN BY CONFEDERATE HERITAGE.
WELL, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT THE MULTITUDE OF SOCIAL AFFRONTS AND HERITAGE VIOLATIONS AIMED DIRECTLY AT OUR CONFEDERATE ANCESTORS, INCLUDING THOSE WHO HAD THE MISFORTUNE TO BE UNCEREMONIOUSLY INTERRED IN A MASS GRAVE HERE AT POINT LOOKOUT?
I LIKE THE RESPONSE OF ONE COMPATRIOT WHO SAID "WE’LL FIGHT'EM UNTIL HELL FREEZES OVER, AND THEN WE’LL FIGHT'EM ON THE ICE." AND YOU CAN BET WE WILL BECAUSE WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY, WE ARE NOT GOING TO CURTAIL OUR CEREMONIES, AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO ABANDON OUR HERITAGE BECAUSE POLITICAL OPPORTUNISTS CLAIM TO BE OFFENDED. WHEN IT COMES TO THE HONOR AND MEMORY OF CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS BURIED AT POINT LOOKOUT CONFEDERATE CEMETERY THERE IS NO COMPROMISE, NO RETREAT, NO CONCESSIONS.
HOWEVER, WE WILL ALWAYS KEEP AN OPEN MIND AND OFFER TO COMMUNICATE WITH OUR DETRACTORS IN AN ATTEMPT TO FOSTER A CLIMATE OF UNDERSTANDING AND SEEK SOLUTIONS TO TODAY’S MYRIAD OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS, AND THE UNREST THAT SEEMS TO BE ENDEMIC AMONGST THEIR CONSTITUENCY. BUT, YOU SHOULD RECOGNIZE THAT MANY PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS TO OPEN DIALOGUES HAVE FAILED BECAUSE SOME OF THEIR LEADERS FEAR THAT SUCH CONVERSATIONS MAY DILUTE THE POWER THEY HOLD OVER MANY UNFORTUNATE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN TAUGHT THAT A VICTIM MENTALITY JUSTIFIES IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR.
IT IS ALSO UNFORTUNATE THAT SOME SO CALLED CIVIC LEADERS ATTEMPT TO BLAME CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL PROBLEMS ON A PERCEIVED CONFEDERATE ENEMY. QUITE FRANKLY, SOME OF THEIR LEADERS SEEM TO BE MORE INTERESTED IN FOISTING A PSYCHOLOGY OF EVIL TO BOLSTER THEIR FOLLOWERS, INSTEAD OF JUST DEALING WITH THEIR PROBLEMS.
NOW, IF WE CANNOT REACH ACCORD WITH UNWILLING DETRACTORS, WE MUST STAND UP TO THEIR ATTACKS AND PROVIDE THE TRUTH TO AS MANY REASONABLE PEOPLE WHO CARE TO LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND.
IF YOU WANT TO KEEP YOUR CONFEDERATE SYMBOLS IN VIEW AND PRESERVE THE MEMORY OF YOUR CONFEDERATE ANCESTORS, EACH OF US, IN OUR OWN CAPACITY AND STYLE, CAN ASSIST IN PROMOTING OUR CONFEDERATE HERITAGE AND THE HONOR THESE POINT LOOKOUT DETAINEES DESERVE. THE STRUGGLE WILL NEVER BE EASY, AND
CHANGE WILL NOT COME AS QUICKLY AS WE WOULD LIKE. BUT NEVERTHELESS, IT IS NECESSARY FOR EACH ONE OF YOU TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY, REMAIN COOL AND REASONABLE, AND LEAD BY EXAMPLE IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER.
SOCIALLY, WE CAN SPEAK BEFORE MANY LOCAL GROUPS, SPONSOR ENJOYABLE OCCASIONS, AND INTRODUCE OUR SPECIAL HERITAGE TO FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.
POLITICALLY, ALTHOUGH NOT THROUGH OUR NON‑PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS, WE CAN TAKE THE TIME TO ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT CANDIDATES WHO HAVE RESPECT FOR AMERICAN HERITAGE AND A SENSE OF EQUITY AND FAIR PLAY. ECONOMICALLY, ALL OF US CAN INCREASE OUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO HERITAGE DEFENSE FUNDS, SCHOLARSHIP ACTIVITIES, AND HERITAGE PRESERVATION INITIATIVES. INSTITUTIONALLY, WE CAN MAKE AVAILABLE COUNTLESS NUMBERS OF GOOD SOUTHERN HISTORY BOOKS TO SCHOOLS, LIBRARIES, AND HISTORICAL SOCIETIES. WE CAN ENCOURAGE OUR SUPPORTERS TO BECOME CANDIDATES FOR LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS, AND TAKE A STAND AGAINST THE NEWLY REVISED GOALS 2000 NATIONAL HISTORY STANDARDS ‑WHICH APPEAR TO FOCUS ON SLAVERY IN THE SOUTH, AND ASSERT THAT THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION INSPIRED THE MARXIST‑LENIN REVOLUTIONS OF THE 20TH CENTURY. AND, WE CAN EFFECTIVELY USE THE COURTS TO STOP SOME OF THIS POLITICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL CORRECTNESS.
RELIGIOUSLY, WE CAN DO WHAT WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE ‑PRAY FOR PEACE, UNDERSTANDING, RACIAL HARMONY, AND SALVATION.
AS YOU CAN SEE, WE SOUTHERNERS HAVE A HUGE EDUCATIONAL TASK IN FRONT OF US. BUT, IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY WE ARE THE FORTUNATE ONE’S BECAUSE WE RECOGNIZE THAT OUR ANCESTORS HAD THE RIGHT IDEAS. THEY BELIEVED THAT CONTINUAL ENDEAVOR AND SELF‑DISCIPLINE UNDER A CONSTITUTIONAL FORM OF GOVERNMENT, WOULD PROVIDE THEM WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO OWN THEIR OWN FARM, THEIR OWN HOME, OR THEIR OWN BUSINESS. THEY DIDN'T EXPECT LIFE TO BE EASY AND THEY WEREN’T LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO INDULGE PASSIONS, OR TO SEEK A FREE HANDOUT. ALL THEY WANTED WAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BETTER THEMSELVES AND TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THEIR CHILDREN WHILE ENHANCING A SENSE OF COMMUNITY.
IN PART, THAT ETHIC IS WHAT BRINGS US TOGETHER THIS MORNING, AS WE PAY TRIBUTE TO OUR CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS AND THEIR FAMILIES, WHO LED BY EXAMPLE, LEARNED FROM THEIR MISTAKES, HAD THE COURAGE TO FOLLOW THEIR CONVICTIONS, AND ESPOUSED LOVE OF FAMILY, HARD WORK, AND DUTY TO GOD AND COUNTRY.
THOSE QUALITIES AND SPIRIT ARE OUR LEGACY, AND THEY ARE THE REASONS WHY OUR ANCESTORS REPRESENT THE VERY EMBODIMENT OF AMERICAN IDEALS, SUCH AS DEDICATION TO PRINCIPLE, COURAGE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY, PERSEVERANCE AMIDST LOSS, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, THE INNER STRENGTH NECESSARY TO CARRY ON.
NOW, IT’S OUR TURN. IT IS OUR INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY AND COLLECTIVE DUTY TO PRESERVE OUR GREAT HERITAGE. YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO AND YOU KNOW THAT WHEN IT COMES TO THE HONOR OF THE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS WHO REST HERE AT POINT LOOKOUT AND THE MEMORY OF THEIR FAMILIES WHO COULD NEVER WELCOME THEM HOME ‑THERE IS NO COMPROMISE, NO RETREAT, NO CONCESSIONS!
(Statement of appreciation and credit for attorney Mike Wright & his endeavor in bringing litigation forward. Statement of appreciation for attorney Steve Campen ‑local counsel. Statement of appreciation and introduction of Ron Rissler of The Rutherford Institute).
BEFORE I BEGIN THE LAST PORTION OF MY REMARKS WHICH ARE DIRECTED TO PRESENT ISSUES, BOTH LEGAL AND OTHERWISE, HERE AT POINT LOOKOUT, LET ME PREFACE BY STATING THAT SOME STATEMENTS MAY BE CONSIDERED CRITICAL OF VETERANS ADMINISTRATION POLICIES AND OFFICIAL ATTITUDES.
HOWEVER, I WANT TO BE QUITE CLEAR THAT NONE OF WHAT I HAVE TO SAY IS DIRECTED AT MS. ROBIN POHLMAN OR OTHER VA OFFICIALS HERE TODAY.
PERSONALLY, I LIKE MS. POHLMAN, AND I AM SURE I WILL ENJOY WORKING WITH HER ONCE THE LEGAL HURDLES ARE BEHIND US, AND WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO WHAT ALL OF US DESIRE, AND THAT IS TO HONOR THE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS WHO REST HERE IN AN APPROPRIATE & ACCEPTABLE MANNER.
I WISH I COULD RELATE TO ALL OF YOU THAT THE NEWLY REVISED, AND LONG AWAITED, NCA DIRECTIVE AND HANDBOOK OFFERED A RAY OF HOPE FOR BEING ABLE TO HONOR CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS IN A SUITABLE AND CUSTOMARY STYLE.
BUT, SADLY SUCH IS NOT THE CASE. THE ACTING DEPUTY UNDERSECRETARY FOR MEMORIAL AFFAIRS, MR. ROGER R. RAPP, ISSUED ANOTHER GOVERNMENT CONUNDRUM, WHICH BECAME EFFECTIVE APRIL 30, 2001. PREDICTABLY, AND LIKE SPOTS ON A LEOPARD, THE REVISIONS TO DIRECTIVE #3220 AND THE HANDBOOK REMAIN VIRTUALLY UNCHANGED. HOWEVER, ONE SHOULD NOTE AN ADDITION TO SECTION 7, SUBSET 2‑F, WHERE THE VA ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG MAY FLY ON A DAILY BASIS FROM 9:00 A.M. UNTIL 6:00 P.M. AT POINT LOOKOUT CONFEDERATE CEMETERY. THUS, POINT LOOKOUT IS THE ONLY VA CEMETERY WHERE A CONFEDERATE FLAG CAN LEGALLY FLY ON A DAILY BASIS.
NOW, AT THE END OF SECTION 2‑F, THE VA HAS INSERTED A NOTE WHICH READS "APPEAL FILED MARCH 28, 2001." WHY ON EARTH WOULD THEY APPEAL A FEDERAL COURT DECISION THAT STATES THEIR ACTIONS ARE DISCRIMINATORY AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL?
FIRST AND FOREMOST, SENIOR CAREER BUREAUCRATS AT VA DO NOT WANT A CONFEDERATE FLAG FLYING ON A DAILY BASIS AT POINT LOOKOUT BECAUSE IT MAY BE CONSIDERED A PRESCEDENT FOR SUCH ACTION AT OTHER SITES.
SECONDLY, THEY APPARENTLY HAVE DEFIED JUDGE NICKERSON’S COURT ORDER PERMITTING US TO FLY A CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG FROM OUR OWN POLE BY ESSENTIALLY STATING THAT JUDGE NICKERSON’S RULING DID NOT ORDER A FOUNDATION FOR A 37 FT. FLAG POLE.
OUR RESPONSE TO SUCH OUTRAGEOUS RHETORIC WAS TO FILE AN APPLICATION FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT AGAINST THE DEFENDANTS, AND WE AWAIT THE COURT’S RULING IN THAT MATTER.
BEYOND THIS EXHIBITION OF GOVERNMENT BAD FAITH, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ATTORNEYS GO FURTHER BY STATING THAT EVEN IF JUDGE NICKERSON ISSUES AN ORDER TO PROCEED WITH A FOUNDATION FOR THE FLAG POLE, THEY WILL ATTEMPT TO BLOCK SUCH IMPLEMENTATION BY APPEALING THAT DECISION TO THE U. S. FOURTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS.
THUS, ONE MAY DRAW THE CONCLUSION THAT INDIVIDUAL CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND FEDERAL COURT ORDERS ARE MERE OBSTACLES TO BE IGNORED IF A FEW CAREER BUREAUCRATS DECIDE THAT CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL CORRECTNESS SUPERCEDES WHAT THE FOUNDING FATHERS HAD IN MIND WHEN THE CONSTITUTION AND THE BILL OF RIGHTS WERE DRAFTED AND RATIFIED.
SCARY, ISN'T IT? IN MY OPINION, DENYING OUR ANCESTORS THE HONOR THEY DESERVE IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF ABUSE OF POWER. WELL, WE HAVE NO INTENTION OF GOING AWAY, AND WE WILL PLAY THIS OUT ALL THE WAY TO A WRIT OF CERTIORARI BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT IF NECESSARY.
AND TO PROVE OUR SERIOUSNESS AND RESOLVE, WE HAVE FILED TWO MORE ACTIONS AGAINST THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS. HOWEVER, THIS TIME WE FILED IN THE FOURTH U. S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS AND WE ARE CHALLENGING THE RULES WHICH MR. ROGER R. RAPP LIKES TO CITE WHILE DISCRIMINATING AGAINST THE DESCENDANTS OF CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS. YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT BOTH CASES WILL BE HEARD BECAUSE AN APPEALS COURT JUDGE RECENTLY DENIED THE DEFENDANTS MOTION TO DISMISS SUCH ACTIONS.
THE TREATMENT WE ARE RECEIVING FROM SENIOR CAREER BUREAUCRATS AT THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN MATTERS PRESENTLY BEFORE THE COURT IS ABSOLUTELY APPALLING. BUT THIS IS NOTHING NEW.
LET ME ILLUSTRATE VERY QUICKLY HOW WE LOSE OUR RIGHTS AND HAVE OUR ABILITY TO HONOR CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS DIMINISHED, OR COMPROMISED OVER TIME BY THOSE WHO ARE SWORN TO LOOK AFTER THEM.
A PROMISE MADE ‑A COMMITMENT KEPT IS THE TITLE OF WONDERFUL BOOK RECENTLY PUBLISHED BY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION WHICH CHRONICLES THE DEVELOPMENT OF 59 WAR BETWEEN THE STATES CEMETERIES UNDER THEIR JURISDICTION. LET US REVIEW ONE ‑THE SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI NATIONAL CEMETERY.
IN 1871 THE CONFEDERATE CEMETERY ASSOCIATION OF MISSOURI PURCHASED 6.3 ACRES OF LAND ADJACENT TO THE NATIONAL CEMETERY AND BEGAN THE PROCESS OF REINTERRING CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS.
BY 1911 THE ENTIRE PROPERTY WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE U. S. GOVERNMENT WITH DEED RESTRICTIONS FOR CONFEDERATE BURIALS ONLY, AND UNLIMITED ACCESS.
IN 1948 ALL RESTRICTIONS WERE REMOVED ON AN UNUSED 3.6 ACRES.
IN 1981 ALL RESTRICTIONS WERE REMOVED ON THE REMAINING 2.7 ACRE PARCEL CONTAINING CONFEDERATE ONLY BURIALS. THUS, THE CONFEDERATE SECTION IS ALLEGEDLY SUBJECT TO CONTEMPORARY VA DIRECTIVES. THIS MEANS THAT THE FLAGPOLE IN THE CONFEDERATE SECTION, WHICH WAS DONATED BY THE UDC AND NOW STANDS VACANT, CAN NO LONGER BE USED TO FLY ANY CONFEDERATE COLORS. SO MUCH, FOR A PROMISE MADE ‑A COMMITMENT KEPT!
SUCH POLICIES AND CIRCUMSTANCES DIRECTED TOWARD OUR ANCESTORS ARE SIMPLY OUTRAGEOUS AND NEED TO BE CHALLENGED AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY.
SO WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED FROM THIS EXAMPLE? FIRST THEY GET THE LAND. NEXT THEY RECEIVE ACCOMMODATIONS. AND OVER TIME THEY PROSTITUTE ORIGINAL AGREEMENTS AND AUTHOR DIRECTIVES UNDER WHICH YOU CANNOT FLY A CONFEDERATE FLAG OVER THE GRAVES OF CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS. AND IF YOU DO, YOU ARE SUBJECT TO ARREST, CRIMINAL PROSECUTION, AND FINES.
THIS EXAMPLE, AND THE SITUATION AT POINT LOOKOUT SERVE AS REASONS WHY THERE ARE TWO FACIAL CHALLENGES TO THE RULES THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION USES TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THE DESCENDANTS OF CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS, AS WELL AS THE ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS MANNER IN WHICH SENIOR VA OFFICIALS LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF HONOR YOU AND I CAN DISPLAY AT THE GRAVESIDE OF OUR CONFEDERATE ANCESTORS.
SO, IN CONCLUSION, LET’S SEND MR. ROGER R. RAPP A MESSAGE HE CAN HEAR BACK IN WASHINGTON, D. C. WHEN IT COMES TO THE HONOR OF CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS, THERE IS (REPEAT AFTER ME) ‑NO COMPROMISE, NO RETREAT, NO CONCESSIONS!
|Official Flag Bearer Proclamation
June 9, 2001
WHEREAS: During the War Between the States, brave Southern soldiers fell one after another, as they carried the Confederate Battle Flag across uneven odds of governmental tyranny and northern battlefield fires. Though wounded, they and their comrades behind them, rose from defeat of an invading northern army, time after time, grasping the Dixie Banner and moved forward, all in the name of God, States Rights, their family honor and their Southern homeland.
WHEREAS: The Confederate Battle Flag represented the fighting soldier, bought and paid for with his blood; a soldier who chose to die in Pt. Lookout Confederate POW Camp, rather than surrender his flag, or take an oath to any other flag. It was and is symbolic of the lives given to Southern defense on the battlefield, in prison and to an honorable grave during the war years of 1861-1865.
WHEREAS: After the War Between the States, Confederate Veterans from all Southern states chose by majority vote for the Confederate Battle Flag to represent them as Southerners who fought for the Confederate States of America.
WHEREAS: PATRICK JOSEPH GRIFFIN, III accepted the dutiful honor as his personal responsibility to be our Flag Bearer in defending the PT. LOOKOUT CONFEDERATE POW CEMETERY so that these brave military and civilian soldiers could continue to have their Confederate Battle Flag flying over their graves
WHEREAS: PATRICK JOSEPH GRIFFIN, III has pledged this heart and hand to a steadfast defense of our Pt. Lookout ancestors to continue carrying the Battle Flag issue through court case after court case until the battle is won and the Pt. Lookout American POW Veterans’ Confederate Battle Flag once again flies over their remains.
NOW THEREFORE, we the Pt. Lookout POW Descendants gathered here in the Pt. Lookout Confederate POW Cemetery, do hereby proclaim June 9, 2001 as Patrick Joseph Griffin, III Flag Bearer Day and urge all citizens to give special attention to our country’s Confederate heritage and the historical meaning of the soldiers’ battle flag.
|And now given by my hand on this 9th day of June, in the year of our Lord, 2001.
Patricia B. Buck
Pt. Lookout POW Descendants Org