By CHERIL VERNON
After being denied a booth in the upcoming Dogwood Trails Festival last week, the John H. Reagan Camp No. 2156, Sons of Confederate Veterans have made plans for their own event Saturday in downtown Palestine — hosting an informational and educational booth featuring a Civil War relics display.
The event will be held at 600 W. Oak St., the location of the future Confederate Veterans Memorial Plaza.
“Unlike seeing period objects through a glass case at a museum, visitors of all ages will be able to actually touch and learn about the historic Civil War relics on display,” a John H. Reagan Camp news release said. “They will also be able to receive a tour of the new plaza, which will be dedicated with a parade and ceremony Saturday, April 13.”
There also will be live music during the day.
Anyone with an ancestor who served in the Confederate armed forces can order a memorial brick paver for their relative with his name, rank and unit by going to the link for ordering pavers found at http://www.reaganscvcamp.org. The brick pavers will line the sidewalks of the plaza and be on display for future generations.
Membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans is open to all male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces.
The Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors sent a letter denying the group its request to rent a booth at the Dogwood Trails Celebration last week.
On March 4, the Chamber released the following statement to area media about its decision:
“The Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce is FOR building a stronger community. Our volunteers spend countless hours doing so,” a chamber board of directors statement said. “It is not in the community’s best interest to allow politically divisive groups to participate in the Dogwood Trails parade or to be a vendor at the festival we are charged with the responsibility to operate on behalf of the City of Palestine.”
John H. Reagan Camp No. 2156 Sons of Confederate Veterans Adjutant/Treasurer Doug Smith said the organization has had booths at previous festivals and has participated in parades over the years.
“We’ve always just taken part in the festivities like everybody else until we were notified we would not be allowed to have a booth,” Smith told the Herald-Press last week. “The term ‘politically divisive’ surprised us because we have always tried to be very positive about promoting Palestine heritage and history.”