Beaufort News

Beaufort ceremony honors fallen Confederate soldiers

The crowd stands at attention for the Presentation of Colours at the start of the Confederate Memorial Day service in the Beaufort National Cemetery on Tuesday evening.
The crowd stands at attention for the Presentation of Colours at the start of the Confederate Memorial Day service in the Beaufort National Cemetery on Tuesday evening. Jonathan Dyer/The Beaufort Gazette

For the 100th time, local residents and members of two Beaufort-area historic groups gathered in the rear corner of Beaufort National Cemetery to honor Confederate soldiers killed in the Civil War.

Local chapters of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy held a 45-minute service Tuesday near the gravesites of 117 Confederate soldiers in honor of Confederate Memorial Day, which marks the anniversary of the 1863 death of Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.

The Rev. Andrew Pearson, who delivered the service's keynote address, said the celebration was about honoring those who gave their lives in defense of the South.

"These soldiers buried behind me did not die for any politician cause but for a way of life," said Pearson, the assistant rector at the Parish Church of St. Helena. "We stand on their shoulders, sons and daughters of the South ... Let us remember their great sacrifice and the cause which has now been placed on our shoulders."

South Carolina is one of eight Southern states that have an officially designated day to honor those who died fighting for the Confederacy. Different states mark the day on different dates.

Confederate Memorial Day became an official state holiday in 2000 as part of a compromise to also make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday. South Carolina was the last state to recognize King Day.

Beaufort's first Confederates Memorial Day service was held in 1911, organizers said Tuesday.

Gladys Cousar, president of the Stephen Elliot Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, said the spirit of the event has remained the same since its inception.

"This service is held each year ... to honor the memory of those brave, young soldiers who served and those who fell in defense of the Confederate States of America," Cousar said. "They suffered, they sacrificed and many gave their lives for our southland."

The (Columbia) State and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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