Old family photos in black and white representing the generations past. We look at them with curious eyes, trying to find recognition, a likeness or a kindred spirit. We take for granted our heritage of blood, family, and way of life.
Many of us are “blue-gray Americans”, confederate yankees, somewhat at war within our own heritage. Some ancestors fought for the North, others for the South. For those who search for ancestors who were living in the South before the Civil War there is less chance of a sure answer in records because many courthouses were burned in what my great grandmother called the War of Northern Aggression.
When I was a little girl I had the privilege of knowing three of my great grandmothers. My paternal great grandmother, Kathryn Ford Mackey had the whitest of hair and a kind and gentle nature. Everyone in the family held her in reverence and were always happy to be in her presence. When “Grandma Kate” developed breast cancer my mother volunteered to take her to her “cobalt treatments” which is what the treatment was called back then. I went along with my mother and great grandmother almost on every occasion she was treated. Along the way, being a curious child, I peppered Grandma Kate with many questions. I wanted to know what it was like to grow up in the late 1890s and early 1900s. I wondered about the kinds of games she played as a child. I was curious about her family, her mother and father.
Grandma Kate answered every question I had but the most striking memory I have of my conversations with her was her stories of her father’s service in the Civil War. She told me that her father and his brother, being from Tennessee broke with their own father, uncle and other brothers, choosing to fight for the South. Her father, Thomas Weir Ford joined the Confederate Army in Livingston, Overton County (just north of Putnam County) Tennessee in 1861.
She told me that her father moved to Arkansas after the war was over. He fought in many battles, including Shiloh and Chickamauga and two of his brothers in the Union Army fought on opposing sides in some of the battles. Grandma Kate didn’t believe her father ever communicated again with his Yankee brothers after the war.
One time, Grandma Kate told me, when Thomas Weir Ford was on furlough from the war because of a wound to his leg, his sisters had to hide him in a cave from the Union Army. Grandma told a fearsome story, captivating me as we sat in the old fifty five Pontiac, of his sister’s attempt to keep his leg bandaged after they escaped to the cave. His wound was opened and he began to bleed and they had to tear off part of their own clothing to wrap his leg tight to stop the bleeding. After the danger was over they discovered the old homeplace had been burned. It was hard for me to imagine having to hide in fear from an enemy.
Grandma Kate told me that her father went to all the Confederate reunions after the war dressed in whatever was left of his confederate uniform. When he died in 1919 the James H. Berry Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, honored him with a floral offering and marked his grave with a confederate marker and flag.
She told me that when his grandkids asked him about the Battle of Shiloh he would always answer, ” We Fit the Yankees and fit em and fit em.”
My great grandmother was a strong willed woman who refused to take her children out of Arkansas when her husband wanted to go to the Northwest territories with his brother. She was a friend of Louise McPhetridge Thaden, an aviation pioneer and watched Louise’s children for her on some of her flights.
I lost my great grandmother when I was 21. She lived to be eighty six years old. What a lot of history she experienced in her life.
A life lived in freedom.
Recently I linked to a report by Michael Yon that told of an entire village that Al-Qaeda had ravaged. The graphic photos of the dead bodies were horrifying but the most haunting image was the photo at the top of the report of a family that was found in one of the homes.
This evil organization destroys members of their own religion and is actively seeking to destroy Western Civilization. Will one day our own family photos be found on the street after an attack? Michael Chertoff, a sober man has a gut feeling that an attack may be coming but his comment is met with derision and laughter.
The Congress is quickly becoming a lost cause in the war on terror. Great Britain has banned Winston Churchill from the history books. History is facts about events and people of the past. To remove the one man from the history books who did so much to preserve Western Civilization is evidence that Islamic terrorists as well as their politically correct allies are winning in the U.K.
Will our children’s children be left with a nation worth living in? Will they still have a remnant of understanding of a country where women could pursue their dreams of aviation, men from humble positions could rise to positions of eminence and children could grow up to love their neighbors instead of plotting to kill them?
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