The first weekend in November the Missouri Society, Military Order of the Stars and Bars hosted the annual Missouri Secession Day Dinner. This year was the largest turnout in a number of years, even in the midst of a global pandemic. This seems a bit peculiar and begs the question to some “Why would all those people care about things that happened nearly 175 years ago?”. The question actually holds the answer within it’s framework. It is understanding the WHY that brings understanding.
Not only did the people present represent a number of different Southern heritage/history organizations from several states, but they were also descendants of Confederate soldiers and governmental officials and their friends and family. The key to WHY is in the merger of these two facts. Our Southern heritage/history organizations were formed by those very people who lived the War of Northern Aggression all those years ago. Those who survived the war witnessed the narrative of their lives twisted to support an illegal and unconstitutional act of invasion by the federal government.
In any study of history facts are sought out. The highest level of measurement that can be achieved is a primary source. This being direct information from those who were there to witness the event. By the time our organizations were formed our ancestors knew well that academic “history and many historians” were misrepresenting their actions and motivations. After all who would better know those motivations and actions than the people who lived them. We have their very words to tell the true motivations and actions, there is no more primary source than that! When our organizations were formed they ask us (their descendants) to defend their honor, their good name, their deeds and actions as they had witnessed themselves this narrative of untruths and misrepresentations.
They had also witnessed the development of a term, “The Lost Cause”, used to claim that they were just trying to justify their actions and deeds and whitewash them. Because of these developments they knew that generations of descendants would be embarrassed of their family’s part in this history. But we have their own words, we can read them and be assured that their motivations, although complex and many, were driven by their belief in liberty and freedom. After all the colonies had just rebelled against a tyrannical ruler not even one hundred years prior.
So the answer to the previous question is: The “why” is the very ancestors we gather to honor, they asked us to continue to ensure that generations to come view their Southern ancestry and their family name as noble, honorable, and just!