In My Own Words:

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Honoring Our Ancestors

The most we can do for our ancestors is to remember them.

I find myself in an odd personal conflict. I created this webpage as a means of remembering and honoring my forebearers, without fear or favor. As an historian, I am always in pursuit of truth that can be validated through primary sources.

But in the matter of the Civil War, I am clearly a creation of the late 20th century. I grew up in South Carolina in a world of separate bathrooms and "Whites Only," who in childhood watched the Civil Rights Movement spread through the south in marches and bloody riots. My sympathies were always with those who sought equality and liberty and all that this country promises to all born here.

How is it then, that this aging flower child -- whose heart follows more closely those of her Quaker kin -- can only find Civil War ancestors who fought for the Confederacy?

Understand then what it is like to watch the film "Gettysburg" -- cheering on the Union troops while realizing that my ancestors were charging across that vast open field in Pickett's Charge.

Or the film "Glory" -- when I first heard the planned attack against Battery Wagner, I whispered to my friend "Why do I think this will not be a Union victory?" Dan whispered back, "I sure hope you haven't gotten attached to any of these characters." And how much harder it was, when six weeks later, I found the military record for Samuel Hugh Wilds and learned who was on the inside of Battery Wagner, firing on the 54th Massachusetts.

So, yes, I am fully qualified to join the Daughters of the Confederacy, but I'm not sure I ever want to. I remember my ancestors. I honor them with this webpage. But I don't have to agree with them.

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