The Sons of Confederate Veterans held its 2012 Sesquicentennial Heritage Rally in Richmond, VA, on Saturday, February 25, 2012. The day dawned sunny, clear and beautiful, but bitterly cold. The first event of the day was the Heritage Parade. It was spectacular, with many in Confederate uniforms, holding our flags high, marching in a long procession to the Lee Monument. Once assembled, the attendees remembered the inauguration of President Jefferson Davis, heard stirring greetings, and enjoyed a message from Commander-in-Chief, R. Michael Givens. He explained the meaning of liberty, as understood by our country's founders, and that our Confederate relatives were contending for the same liberty. Overhead, a plane circled, pulling a banner that called Richmond to remember its Confederate heritage. Those in attendance were encouraged by this opportunity to honor the valiant efforts of our Southern ancestors.
An evangelistic service, similar to those held among the Confederate soldiers 150 years ago, was scheduled to be held in the church attended by Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. However, the day before the service was to be held, the church cancelled the event, leaving the planners with the responsibility of finding another suitable location for holding the service. In God's good providence, on Saturday night, an evangelistic service, commemorating the great revivals in the Southern troops during the War Between the States, was held at the Confederate War Memorial Chapel, located at the corner of North Boulevard and Grove Avenue. The building is maintained by the Lee Jackson SCV Camp #1 in Richmond. The lovely building has elegant stained glass windows, in honor of Confederate soldiers and military units. The chapel contains a recently restored Mason and Hamlin organ. The architecture speaks of the veterans' desire to reverence the Lord. The pews, without cushions, were "hand-hewn originals." A model of the layout of the Soldiers' Home, including miniature buildings, provided a visual lesson of the significance of the chapel, still standing, in spite of the surrounding flood of political correctness. Inside the Chapel, various plaques reveal a message honoring the Southern Cause. The building seemed aglow with our Southern Christian heritage.
The Confederate veterans had used this chapel for their worship. Some 1700 of them had their funerals there. Confederate Chaplain J. William Jones, author of Christ in the Camp, preached in the chapel and was chaplain of the original camp. What a glorious meeting was held there that night! Following the musical numbers of the prelude, the service began with a "Call to Church," played beautifully on the trumpet.by Hunter Kendall.
The Tom Kendall family from Greenville, SC, and the Patrick Neely family, from Marble, NC, with instruments and voices, exalted our Lord and Savior with their Christ-honoring talents and took us back to the days of the Great Revivals. The program also included congregational singing, prayers, edifying words concerning the Confederate revivals by past Chaplain-in-Chief Ron Rumburg, heart-searching exhortation by Past Chaplain-in-Chief Charles Baker, and the clear Biblical preaching of Past Chaplain-in-Chief John Weaver. Our souls were fed, edified and convicted. Past Chaplain-in-Chief Ron Rumburg said: "I thought we had the blessings of the Lord on the service Saturday night. After a hectic day, there was such solace. The hard pews were softened. The true gospel was preached and Confederate values were upheld. Also, we were treated to a lesson on special providence."
Chaplain-in-Chief Mark Evans said: "Only a sovereign God could bring such an event to pass. If we had searched the earth, we could not have found a more appropriate meeting place. Our SCV chaplains stood tall in the pulpit, declaring the truths that bring eternal blessings--the truths so desperately needed today. The Sons of Confederate Veterans is still bearing witness to the righteous principles of our ancestors, extolling their value and virtues. We not only exist, but we are raising high the banner of truth. May the Lord have mercy upon us and allow us to see that day of victory, when the slander and distortions will vanish, and the Christian foundations of our forefathers will be restored. 'If God be for us, who can be against us?'" (Romans 8:31).