Wreath-laying event comes to Confederate cemetery for 1st time
by Geoff Folsom
gfolsom@mdjonline.com
December 16, 2012 01:31 AM | 3833 views | 7 7 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Participants place wreaths on headstones during the Wreaths Across America Day event at the Marietta Confederate Cemetery.<br>Staff/Emily Barnes
Participants place wreaths on headstones during the Wreaths Across America Day event at the Marietta Confederate Cemetery.
Staff/Emily Barnes
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MARIETTA — The Marietta Confederate Cemetery on Saturday became the first of the nation’s resting places for rebel soldiers to host a “Wreaths Across America” event, in which volunteers lay Christmas wreaths on graves of veterans. But the idea is already spreading to other Confederate cemeteries.

“We’re going to do this next year,” said Jeff Bailey with the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Stone Mountain, a group that hosts a Memorial Day event at the Confederate cemetery there. “Since they’re trying it out here and it looks like it’s going to work, we’re going to do this next year.”

Long a tradition at the Marietta National Cemetery, where Union soldiers are buried, Houston Spencer, a colonel in the Old Guard of the Gate City Guard, said he wanted to bring the event to the Confederate cemetery.

“These are veterans too,” he said. “These are soldiers that died for what they thought was right. When I’m over at the National Cemetery, I thought, ‘We’ve got veterans across the railroad tracks, they need to be recognized as well.’ After a couple years, I said, ‘What the hell, let’s do it.’ ”

Around 150 volunteers showed up to lay the wreaths after a half-hour ceremony at adjacent Brown Park.

“The wreath celebration is a wonderful experience and very relevant,” Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin told the audience. “We’re very glad to have it in two places in our city.”

While wreaths were placed on soldiers graves, the event resembled a Memorial Day event more than a Christmas celebration. Taps was played instead of Christmas carols and Santa Claus was nowhere to be found, but people came dressed in Civil War-era garb.

“Even though this is the Christmas season, this is not a Christmas celebration,” Spencer said. “This is a reverent remembrance to honor the soldiers and what they did for us.”

Others attending include Marietta City Councilmen Philip Goldstein and Grif Chalfant and state Rep. Don Parsons (R-east Cobb).

After the ceremony, public officials, members of Confederate organizations and volunteers who just showed up for the ceremony made their way up the hill to the Georgia area of the Confederate ceremony where they placed wreaths on 150 graves.

“I think it’s time we honor our heritage, even though a lot of folks have forgotten it, and honor the blood, sweat and sacrifice of the veterans, as well as the families that supported the Confederate soldiers,” said volunteer Ken Myers, 63, of Marietta.

Spencer said he was only able to raise enough money for 150 of the $15 evergreen wreaths this year. He hopes to someday raise enough to place one at all 3,600 graves. He is already collecting money for the 2013 Wreaths Across America. For information on donating, call (770) 419-7153.

The Wreaths Across America event was one of around 600 at cemeteries and memorials across the country, each held at noon eastern time, Spencer said. The events are spearheaded by a Columbia Falls, Maine nonprofit organization.

At the Marietta National Cemetery, 2,767 wreaths were placed on graves Saturday.
Comments
(7)
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Bad Message
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December 17, 2012
It's shameful to see our city manager in a photo honoring the graves of men who committed murder to keep slaves. It seems he would have a better moral compass.
GANative
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December 17, 2012
It seems you need a history lesson.

Useless Grant was a slave owning Yankee General who brought his slaves into VA in direct violation of the emancipation proclimation he was sworn to uphold.

Lincoln overturned the emancipation of MO to keep slaves so they would continue to be Norhern sympathetic.

The 1st black regiment of the yankee army was refused shoes. Southern blacks fought alongside southern whites.

Please keep your ignorance to yourself, and respect those who fought to protect liberty and the states right to sovereignty. Fool.
Billy Bearden
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December 17, 2012
Due to laws passed by the US Congress, ALL Veterans are equal in the eyes of the law. All Veterans are American Veterans. Honor Thy Mother and Thy Father. US Government bestowed a Congressional Gold Medal on remaing Confederate Veterans in the 1950s. Bad Message is a Muslum Obama worshipper who hates America.
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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December 17, 2012
Bill Bruton a "moral compass"? BWAHAHAHA!
Jon Holland
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December 17, 2012
It was an honor to be able to display these beautiful signs of respect for our Confederate dead. I encourage everyone to embrace their Southern heritage and not be ashamed of it. These men died for what they believed in and should be honored like any other veteran.Thank you City of Marietta for providing this opportunity.

Jon Holland

Commander

Sons of Confederate Veterans

Milton Guards

Camp #2214

Alpharetta
Proud Southern Lady
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December 17, 2012
I love my Southern heritage. Thank you!
Southern Patriot
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December 16, 2012
God Save the South!
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