“This is our 111th annual Confederate Memorial Day,” said Betty Browning, president of the James S. Boynton Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. “We will be presenting two Crosses of Military Service awards to veterans of the Vietnam conflict.”
She said every celebration of Confederate Memorial Day features the distribution of these awards.
“We make sure we honor our ancestors as well as our veterans,” she said.
The event will also feature the presentation of four awards to local students who won the essay contest. This year’s essay topic was the lost Confederate gold. Browning said late in the Civil War, Confederate President Jefferson Davis had gold borrowed from France loaded onto wagons and taken south to avoid the Union armies. When the group that transported the gold stopped at a plantation to rest one night, all the gold disappeared. There are many different theories about the gold, including the possibility the plantation owners or Davis himself stole it, but it has never been found.
“We had four first-place winners out of 126 essays,” she said.
There will also be several speakers. Martha Locke, past Georgia Division president, will speak about the first Confederate monument, while Penny Gaskins will speak about the organization Children of the Confederacy. Boy Scout Troop 77 will be on hand to collect worn-out American and Georgia flags.
“Anyone that has any old flags that need to be destroyed, we will have the Boy Scouts of America there,” Browning said. “These flags will be turned over to them for proper disposal.”
The event will also feature a period band, Tunes of the Battlefield, which includes a fife, drum and bugle. Company G of the 20th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, a group of Civil War re-enactors, will give a rifle salute.
The event will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at the cemetery’s Memorial Drive location, across the street from the Griffin-Spalding County Public Library. The Confederate cemetery is enclosed within an iron fence.