To a Confederate Soldier

There are some who would deny you the right to be honored. Some who do not see your place in our nation's history. Yet, on this day, you are honored with a wreath and a speech, the same as your former enemies. Those who have sought to strip you of your dignity and your death's purpose have been struck down by freedom and justice for all.

Photos from the Arlington National Cemetery website

My ancestor fought against you in the war. He dressed in blue, you in grey, but both were boys defending a cause you believed in until the end. I live in a country you helped create, by your dedication to the ideals and ideas you felt so strongly that they took your life. Without you, there would be no freedom. Without you, there would be no justice for all people in this nation. Without you, there would not be a whole and reconciled country.

You fought for the right to own slaves, so now we are a nation of equal rights. You fought for the right to rebel against a government you found oppressive, so now we have representation by all states. You fought to preserve trade, so now we have open trade agreements. You fought and died for these things, so that we can live free.

Those who sought to take away your dignity in death have forgotten why you are buried in Arlington. They have forgotten that justice means honoring all who have made this country what it is. But we as a nation have not forgotten. You were honored this year, as in years past. May you rest in peace, and be honored as all who died in American wars are honored.

Copyright Memorial Day 2009 by Karen Thompson.

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