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Confederate Memorial Day observance planned in Cedar Grove Cemetery

Staff Reports • May 31, 2017 at 10:14 PM

The Gen. Robert H. Hatton Camp Sons of Confederate Veterans will hold its annual Confederate Memorial Day service Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Lebanon’s Cedar Grove Cemetery.

Randy Lucas, of Gallatin, brigade commander for the Tennessee Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, will be the guest speaker. Period re-enactors, along with an artillery company, will provide a live-fire salute.

In the past year, the Hatton camp was involved in a cemetery survey at Cedar Grove Cemetery and identified 164 Confederate veterans buried there. Earlier this week, members of the camp placed Confederate flags around the Gen. Robert Hatton monument on the square in memory of the men who fought in the Civil War.

“In years past, we have held our Memorial Day service on the square around the Hatton monument,” said Barry Forkum, Hatton camp commander. “But with the square redesign, it’s not really possible. Hatton was loved by his men, and many of the veterans buried at Cedar Grove were in Hatton’s 7th Tennessee, so putting these flags around his monument is a fitting tribute.”

Forkum said Confederate Memorial Day, originally called Confederate Decoration Day, is seen as the most important day on the Confederate calendar and stands as the premier day in celebration of Southern heritage. Commemoration of Confederate soldiers was begun in 1866 in Columbus, Ga. by the Ladies Memorial Association and has continued each year since, he said.

In Tennessee, state law recognizes Confederate Memorial Day as a day of remembrance, reflection, commemoration and celebration. Forkum said it is a day when Tennesseans are encouraged to honor the Volunteer State's Confederate heritage, its Confederate heroes and the Confederacy's president Jefferson Davis, who was born June 3, 1808, in Fairview, Ky.

“We organize a memorial service every year,” said Forkum. “These men left their families and suffered tremendous hardships in order to defend their hearth and home against an invading army. The odds were overwhelming, but the cause was noble, and we can still appreciate it today. Our goal is always to bring honor and recognition to our ancestors’ good name.”

The Lebanon-based Robert H. Hatton Camp is an affiliate member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Forkum said it works throughout the year as an historical honor society seeking to perpetuate the true history of the South through preserving and honoring Southern culture and heritage. 

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