The Gen. Robert H. Hatton Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, will hold its annual Confederate Memorial Day service Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Lebanon.
The public is invited to the observance, during which Gallatin's Randy Lucas, brigade commander for the Tennessee Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, will serve as the guest speaker. Period reenactors along with an artillery company will provide a live fire salute.
Over the past year, the Hatton Camp has been involved in a cemetery survey at Cedar Grove Cemetery and has identified 164 Confederate veterans buried there. Earlier in the week, members of the camp placed Confederate flags around the Gen. Hatton monument on the city square.
"In years past we have held our Memorial Day service on the square around the Hatton monument," Hatton Camp Commander Barry Forkum said. "But, with the square redesign it's not really possible. Hatton was loved by his men, and many of the veterans buried at Cedar Grove were in Hatton's 7th Tennessee, so putting these flags around his monument is a fitting tribute."
Seen as the most important day on the Confederate calendar, Confederate Memorial Day, originally called Confederate Decoration Day, stands as the "premier day in celebration of Southern heritage," according to a news release issued by the Hatton Camp. Commemoration of Confederate soldiers was begun in 1866 in Columbus, Ga. by the Ladies Memorial Association and has continued each year since.
In Tennessee, state law recognizes Confederate Memorial Day as a day of remembrance, reflection, commemoration and celebration. It is the day when all Tennesseans are encouraged to honor the Volunteer State's Confederate heritage, its Confederate heroes and the Confederacy's president, Jefferson Davis, who was born on June 3, 1808, in Fairview, Ky.
"We organize a memorial service every year," Forkum said. "These men left their families and suffered tremendous hardships in order to defend their hearth and home against an invading army. The odds were overwhelming, but the cause was noble, and we can still appreciate it today. Our goal is always to bring honor and recognition to our ancestors' good name."
The Lebanon-based Robert H. Hatton Camp is an affiliate member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and works throughout the year as an historical honor society seeking "to perpetuate the true history of the South through preserving and honoring Southern culture and heritage."