Friday, July 29, 2011

Florida Veterans Hall of Fame to Include Confederates?

I received this information from my local SCV Camp. Thanks for the info Preston!

First off...I can't say I knew there was going to be such a thing as the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame. The law calls for honoring veterans who have made a “significant contribution” to the state during their time in the military or afterward. Are there plans for a building or real way of memorializing these men and (no doubt in the future)women other than a plaque on the state capital wall? Who knows. Our state government has some weird priorities and ways to show they can waste money. Oops, I mean be fiscally responsible. 

Any way there's of course a big furor due to who is included on the first list of possible inductees and who isn't. The fact that sitting governor Rick Scott with his shockingly low approval rating and more than checkered past was included is the real head scratcher in my eyes. He has graciously bowed out most likely saving himself the embarrassment of not being awarded the honor.

Confederate Brigadier General
 and 14th Gov. of Florida
Edward A. Perry
The real uproar of course boils down to diversity and anti Confederate rhetoric. Civil Rights advocates are against Confederate inductees who feel it fans the flames of racism. Also, "rank and file" military members do not have representation. What about women?

Here's my take on this. Ignoring the Civil War and Confederates does not and will not make the past go away. Florida was a part, admittedly a small part, of the Confederacy and these men should be recognized. Sure, maybe not all the first time around but they do need to be recognized. Throwing anger on these men however does serve to activate those who work to honor their Confederate ancestors. Pro Confederate groups will seize on this and use it to their advantage. Trying to rebury these men only gives them name recognition in a time when I would all but guarantee 90+% of Floridians would not recognize more than MAYBE one of these men.

The beauty of any "Hall of Fame" is inductees can be added at will. Not everybody deserving gets in on the first or in Bert Blyleven's case the 13th try. He did however get elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the 14th try. To me he should have been elected earlier and Roberto Alomar probably shouldn't have gotten in this year. Heck, I'm still waiting on Iron Maiden to get into the Rock and Roll HOF. I'm pretty sure I'll be waiting a long time since there are fine groups such as Katrina and the Waves and some other ridiculous Eric Clapton project that are no doubt more deserving than any heavy metal group. But I digress.

Daniel James, the first African
American Four Star General
The news article listed some excellent candidates, including Josiah Walls and Daniel James, that are no doubt deserving. Instead of beating the dead Confederate horse why not work to get these others elected. Lobby whatever nominating board you need to. Help make their names known. Rather than pursue what you perceive to be a negative work to accentuate the positive. Remember there's always another group to be nominated. On that note, who do I contact about Iron Maiden.

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