Marion County commissioners approved a proclamation on Tuesday paying tribute to the Confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War.
Before reading the document declaring April 26 as “Confederate Memorial Day,” Vice Chairman David Moore said it’s important to understand the complete history of events, regardless of opinions.
“We don’t revise history,” he said. “We teach history as it happens.”
Moore, who was joined by members of the Confederate Memorial Day group, read the proclamation aloud. It points out that April is the month when the Confederate States of America “initiated and ended its four-year struggle for a sovereign and independent nation.” The document also says that the State of Florida sent more soldiers and sailors “to fight the Confederate cause” than any other Southern state. And it proclaims April 26 as the time to “honor the memories” of those who sacrificed their lives in the War Between the States.
“As we recall the tragic events that took place between the years of 1861 and 1865, we do so in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the conflicting ideals and passions that pitted brother against brother and tore a nation apartment,” the proclamation reads.
Moore said his family understands that conflict all too well.
“All my dad’s side fought on one side, on the South, and all of my mom’s side fought on the North,” he said. “So it truly was brother against brother.”
Nancy Bowden, chapter president of the Confederate Memorial Day group, thanked the commission for recognizing the history of their ancestors of Southern heritage.
“We appreciate this so much for their valor and their service to defend their homeland, their Southland, their Dixie,” she said.
In October 2015, Marion County commissioners found themselves at the center of a controversy concerning a Confederate flag that had flown over the McPherson Governmental Complex in Ocala.
At the time, commissioners voted to relocate the “Five Flags Over Florida” historical flag display from the front of the McPherson Governmental Complex to an area closer to the Marion County History Museum. They also voted to replace the Third National Confederate Flag – one of five flags that were part of the display – with the First Flag of the Confederate States of America to resemble similar flag displays in other areas of Florida.
The decision drew the ire of the president of the Democratic Women’s Club of The Villages, who said the flag’s “only historical significance is that it serves as a painful reminder of a blood stained time in our country’s history full of oppression and division.”