Arkansas Confederate Flag Day Services

March 29, 1997

SCV members, Confederate Reenactors, UDC members, and guests attended the annual Confederate Flag day services on the State Capitol grounds today. The event was very successful, attendance appeared to be about double that of last years event. Many in the crowd carried their own flag replicas.

An honor guard took its place in front of the Confederate Monument on the northeast corner of the Capitol grounds about 11:00 am and a large assortment of Confederate flags were placed around the monument and on both sides of the street. All of the Confederate national flags, the Bonnie Blue, Van Dorn's flag (15th NW Arkansas), Cleburne's flag, 30th Arkansas flag, and the 7th Arkansas flag were among those displayed.

As the ceremony began Confederate reenactors marched in to the sound of the drums and came to attention to the SW of the monument. The invocation was given, followed by a heart-moving speech by the Commander of the Little Rock SCV camp decrying "political correctness" in favor of "historical correctness. He called on citizens to reason together, concentrating on those who hate rather than the flag that they have misused.

A special guest was introduced, the great-grandaughter of the man who designed the original Confederate flag that first flew over the Confederate capitol at Montgomery. She is a resident of Little Rock and received a warm round of applause from the crowd.

Two relic flags were brought forward for the crowd to view. The first flag displayed by the honor guard was a very large battle flag of the western design. This flag is unusual in the fact that the stars in the St. Andrew's cross number 25 instead of the standard 13. Research indicates that these stars represent the fact that Arkansas was the 25th State to join the Union in 1836. It is believed that this flag was the one that flew over the United Confederate Veteran's Reunion in Little Rock in 1911. Over 12,000 Confederate Veterans and upwards of 100,000 other guests attended this massive reunion. The flag probably flew over the headquarters of the convention at the Old Statehouse. This flag is probably the inspiration for the current Arkansas State flag design. The flag will be on display at the Hot Springs Museum shortly. The crowd got a good look at the flag and crowded around it for pictures and video. This flag is a great symbol of both our Confederate Veterans and our State's history.

The second flag presented was the flag used by the United Confederate Veterans Camp 991 (Van H. Manning Camp) of Malvern, Arkansas. Col. Van Manning was commander of the 3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment, the only Arkansas regiment to serve with the Army of Northern Virginia throughout the war. This flag has a special place in the heart for those associated with the 3rd.

The balance of the event was made up of excellent speeches by the Commander of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars and from the Arkansas Division Commander of the SCV.

The close of the services included three volleys of musketry by the assembled infantry and heart-pounding replies from the artillery. The crowd then broke into an impromptu and enthusiastic rendition of "Dixie", the perfect way to end the day.

My hat is off to those who put this event together, those who participated, the speakers, and the honored guests. They all did a great job and created a very memorable event. We hope to see everyone in attendance next year.

This web page authored by Mark Gerdes.
Last updated March 31, 1997. Page and all contents Copyrightę 1996 by SCV Camp #1655, Jonesboro, Arkansas.