Alabama isn’t called the “heart of Dixie” without cause.
The deep south state, an early member of the Confederate States of America, dedicated
a monument Sunday to “Unknown Alabama Confederate Soldiers” in Brantley, a town in the southern part of the state, AP reports.
The move is in stark contrast to the decision in Charlottesville, Virginia to put a black shroud over its statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee as well as another Confederate monument. The trend across America since the riots in Charlottesville has been to remove Confederate monuments.
Hundreds of people attended the ceremony, although the organizers were prepared for any backlash from “anti-fascist” groups by laying on heavy security at the Confederate Veterans Memorial Park, located in Crenshaw County, Alabama. The park is just 50 miles away from Montgomery, which was the site of the first Confederate capitol before it moved to Richmond, Virginia.
The tribute to unknown Confederate soldiers is encompassed by a black metal fence and joins two other monuments in the vicinity.
The ceremony was conducted with solemnity; organizers had put a red shroud over the monument and yanked it off as it was dedicated. Then cannon blasts erupted in the silence of the moment.
The Confederate battle flag flew freely throughout the park and many of the guests, including a platoon of Confederate re-enactors, were dressed in period Rebel military uniforms.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy and Sons of Confederate Veterans sent representatives to the ceremony.
The park’s owner and developer was also present. David Coggins said neither the new monument nor the people who came to see it dedicated have anything to do with white supremacists or racist movements. He said the the ceremony was all about commemorating Southern heritage and remembering the sacrifice of Confederate soldiers during America’s bloodiest conflict.
“That’s why we’re here is to honor our Confederate dead, to honor our ancestors,” he said. “That’s why I’m in it, that’s what it’s all about. We should all be proud of our Confederate ancestors.”