The recent news carried an article about how someone was very offended by a flag. To hear the fellow’s words, you would think his life had just about been destroyed because he saw it.
The flag in question had been followed by men whose constant companions were hunger and disease, who for years were vastly outnumbered, suffering pain and deprivations. Although often ill-equipped, these men were nonetheless armed with a weapon of a different kind – grit and determination.
Confederate General John B. Gordon tells a story about a night march. Late to arrive was an Arkansas regiment, a regiment Robert E. Lee once called “the great old Third Arkansas.” Gordon described how an Arkansas soldier leaned his rifle up against a tent pole, and muttered the following:
“This is pretty hard. I fight all day and march all night. But I suppose I can do it for my country. I can go hungry. I can march when I’m sick, because I love my country. I can always fight because there’s always another yankee somewhere who needs to be whipped. I do all this and I’m glad to do it because I love my country.”
Gordon understood this. He was shot four times at Antietam, but continued to command his men. It took a fifth bullet that day to bring him down. Wounded at Shepherdstown, blood streaming from his head, he again carried on with his command. He was shot again near Appomattox, but kept right on fighting.
Is it any wonder so many today still honor these men and the flag they followed?