Editor: Just before daylight the other morning I went downtown to visit a fellow old solider. I’ve seen him many, many times but never did I stop to say hello or see just how he was doing.
He has been standing behind the Liberty County Courthouse for a long time. I first noticed him way back in 1985 when I moved my family to Hinesville. In the early dawn, I stood silently as the morning sun began to put some light on this old solider. His uniform is of the time period of the great war between the states in the 1860s, but the years have been tough on him. The insignias of his uniform are worn and tempered by the hot and humid Georgia days, and I guess he is a local fellow from Ludowici, Midway or maybe Hinesville and surely, he fought for The Confederate States of America.
I took several minutes and looked deep into his eyes. Again, time has been tough on him but I saw a gentle young man who was not a general, a statesman, a plantation master or a slave owner. Just a citizen, like so many others of his day, who put on the uniform for the southern states.
Off to war he went; not to preserve slavery, not to fight northern taxes levied on the South’s cotton, not to form a new country, but just to be with his friends and brothers who likewise did not fit into the beforementioned categories.
As the sun began to light him just a bit more I heard him call to me. "Hey, fellow old soldier, let me stand. I’m a part or our history. Like other soldiers I followed orders and might have done some wrongs. By standing here I give all the opportunity to remember and I give reason for people to change. I don’t think I’m evil, just a token of my time. Don’t let me be forgotten." Just then a car came around the corner and another person began to open a shop across the street.
I think I saw the old soldier give me a nod, then assume his position of attention for the day. I gave him my salute and told him I would do my best to keep him at his courthouse post. I wiped a tear from my eye and headed home