Sons of Confederate Veterans Take Part in Confederate Flag Protest

Update: Check the comments for a response from representatives of SCV as well as a video of Mr. Millburn’s protest. He is quite animated.

This is an interesting story out of Louisiana.  The caption under the image reads: “Walter Milburn III, left, lights a candle Tuesday morning at the foot of the Confederate War Veterans Memorial in protest of the displaying of the Confederate Flag. Assisting with the lighting of the candle is George Gremillion, Sons of the Confederate Veterans Brigadier General J.J. Alfred Mouton Camp 778 commander.”  Unfortunately, no one interviewed Gremillion, which, it seems to me, is the much more interesting part of this story.

34 thoughts on “Sons of Confederate Veterans Take Part in Confederate Flag Protest

  1. Hiram Hover

    Hi Kevin – it’s been a while since I checked in with a comment, but I guess that shirt did it for me too.

    As to what’s going on in the photo:

    I followed the link – Gremillion wasn’t interviewed, but it sounds as if he was on hand to watch/monitor Milburn’s “protest” against the flag. Milburn says in the story that he doesn’t have anything against memorials to the Confederate dead. I presume he’s demonstrating that here by lighting a candle at the monument’s base, and Gremillion was happy to assist.

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    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      So nice to hear from you after all this time. I trust all is well.

      I wonder if we have a genuine example of a compromise stance on the part of both parties. It’s much more interesting than your typical extremist rants.

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  2. Bennet Young

    I have talked to those involved. As usual it is the paper that got it wrong. Milburn stated that he was not against honoring dead, so when he went to light a candle at the monument, that is what George thought he was doing. He could not get the candle lit, so George helped him do that. He does not support ripping down Confederate flags “all across the universe”.
    I fail to see how any one agreeing with Milburn would be a compromise, what he asked was not a compromise but total surrender.

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  3. Marcus Prudhomme

    Posted in the comments section under the article, so sorry to disappoint you Kevin….

    Official Statement of the Mouton Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), of Opelousas:

    The Sons of Confederate Veterans, in no way, shape or form, condones any protest of the Confederate Flag. This article and the accompanying photograph may lead readers to believe that the Mouton Camp, through its Commander, George Gremillion, somehow supported or condoned Mr. Milburn’s protest at the St. Landry Parish Confederate Monument. This is certainly not the case as to do so would fly in the face of the very essence of what the SCV stands for which is to honor, defend and remember our Confederate Soldiers. The fact that the Daily World would publish the article without providing the SCV an interview to respond to the protest is certainly inappropriate and should lead all readers to ask why the DW would conduct journalism in this manner.

    Commander George Gremillion assisted Mr. Milburn in lighting the candle in the belief that it was being lit to honor the Confederate Dead who are honored by the monument itself. The SCV is always prepared to join with anyone who is willing to honor Confederate Dead and the candle at the foot of the monument next to the wreaths and flags, which in fact were placed there by the Mouton Camp, is considered an appropriate symbol to do so. The SCV does not support the lighting of the candle if said lighting was meant in any way to condemn the Confederate Flag or any other symbols of the Confederacy.

    The SCV is preparing an official rebuttal to the article and hopes that the DW will see fit to balance the story with our response.

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  4. Marcus Prudhomme

    You may want to go ahead and change your story’s headline based on position of the Camp involved. Pretty crappy journalism but this is no surprise that the local paper got this wrong. Who covers a one-man protest anyway. “Undaunted” by the low turn out is right….it was only him!!

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    1. Andy Hall

      “Who covers a one-man protest anyway?”

      It was apparently enough to torque Mr. Gremillion to get dressed up and come out for the occasion.

      I understand the SCV’s interest in making sure the news item is accurate. More generally, though, why does the SCV particularly care about Mr. Milburn’s protest? Why does to SCV feel obligated to issue both an official statement and, further, an “official rebuttal” on top of that? At some point it gets to be counterproductive, and before it’s all said and done, will draw more attention to Mr. Milburn’s protest than he ever would have gotten on his own.

      This reminds a bit of the painting of the flag in the college gallery in Georgia some weeks back, that was taken down after protests. The SCV counted that removal as a win, I’m sure, but it also generated vast amounts of press attention (both in the blogosphere and in traditional media outlets) for both the painting and the artist, Stanley Bermudez. (Whose name, fair to point out, I would never have known were it not for the removal of the painting and the ensuing media attention.) I suspect that, far from being chided, that artist now has more prominence and name-recognition in his field than he ever would have gotten if his painting had simply run its quiet course on exhibition.

      As you say, “who covers a one-man protest anyway?” At some point, the SCV will surely learn that knee-jerk reactions and boilerplate rebuttals don’t especially help make their case, and in some instances actually bring exposure to the very ideas or arguments the SCV opposes. But not yet, apparently.

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      1. Kevin Levin Post author

        What Millburn is doing is no different from raising one of those “big ass Confederate flags” along the highway. It’s bound to get a reaction.

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  5. Marcus Prudhomme

    Andy, you may think its a knee jerk reaction, but I see the SCV response as reasonable and right. Had the newspaper not gone off half cocked and wrote a very one sided story, then all of this would be moot. As the article was written, how could the SCV not gone a step further than to make its position clear? Had it not, then folks would have assumed that the SCV is okay with flag protests, and even join in. Heck, the guy was complaining about the flying of a flag that seemed to be flying for the most appropriate reason, on a memorial to Confederate Dead. I think that the official statement is positive coverage for the SCV and the statements made by Millburn speak for themselves. I think Andy you just may be finding fault in the SCV in this story where there really is none. If anyone is to blame for this mess, it is the newspaper.

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    1. Andy Hall

      Marcus, I see the problem with the reporting, and the need to clarify it. I guess what I don’t get is why the need to have Mr. Gremillion there in the first place. As far as I can tell, it wasn’t part of a larger event; if the SCV believes that Mr. Milburn’s protest is unwarranted/inappropriate/misguided/foolish, it seems to me to be the better part of discretion to ignore him altogether — it’s not as if (judging from the original news item) he had any sort of audience. By showing up — in that shirt, for goodness sakes — and having his picture taken arm-in-arm with him, Mr. Gremillion did almost as much to make this a news item as Mr. Milburn did.

      Just because someone (in this case Milburn) says something you disagree with, doesn’t mean you have to reply, particularly if you believe strongly that the objective merits of the case are on your side.

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  6. Lyle Smith

    I’ve ridden by this courthouse many a time as a kid. Grandparents lived an hour west down the highway from Opelousas. I think just about every courthouse in Louisiana has a Lost Cause era Confederate soldier’s monument in front of it.

    It was nice protest from both sides of the issue, I think. I agree with Mr. Milburn about the battle flag flying in the public space. It shouldn’t in my opinion. And he’s right, I think, to respect the monument to soldiers. The monument alone is good enough… and if there must be a flag, at least it should be the Stars and Bars, and not the battle flag. The Stars and Bars normally flies in most parishes along with whatever other government flags flew over that land at one point, like the French and Spanish flags, etc…

    Opelousas is also the hometown of a quadroon/mixed race man who fought in Hays’ Louisiana brigade at Gettysburg. He held himself out as white though.

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    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Apart from the over-the-top references to the universe I thought it was a reasonable gesture on his part.

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    2. Chad Soileau

      Why would the SCV fly the Stars and Bars when honoring the grave or a monument of or to Confederate Dead? It certainly is not inappropriate, but not as fitting. The Square Battleflag, which the SCV places at the base of the monument along with wreathes every June in honor of Confederate Memorial Day, is most fitting and proper. It was the banner of the soldier and represents his sacrifice more than the government flag. I suppose your reasoning for flying the 1st National instead is because the battleflag is divisive. Not those soldiers’ fault. Flying the battleflags in the context that it is in this case is exactly what the SCV needs to be and should be doing. I appreciate what the SCV does every year to remember and honor the brave men from Opelousas and surrounding areas who served during the War Between the States. 1st National in historic flag displays, proper. Battleflag when honnoring Confederate Dead, even more proper.

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      1. Andy Hall

        It was the banner of the soldier and represents his sacrifice more than the government flag. I suppose your reasoning for flying the 1st National instead is because the battleflag is divisive. Not those soldiers’ fault. Flying the battleflags in the context that it is in this case is exactly what the SCV needs to be and should be doing.

        The problem is that the SCV doesn’t limit itself to honoring the experience and sacrifice of the individual Southern soldier; it insists on the righteousness of the entire Confederate cause, as it characterizes it, from Jefferson Davis on down. If the SCV stuck to telling the stories and honoring the memories of the soldiers, as opposed to trying to vindicate the Confederate cause, they wouldn’t get nearly the grief they do.

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      2. Lyle Smith

        Chad,

        My rational would be that the battle flag is not only an emblem of the Confederate soldier, but an emblem of segregation. It’s offensive in that regard to me, and many people find it offensive as a symbol of slavery (Mr. Milburn’s argument). The Star and Bars was at least an official Confederate flag, was used by Confederate regiments, and it has no symbolic connection to segregation. Mr. Milburn, by his own rational, wouldn’t like that flag either… but the Stars and Bars comes with a lot less hate, and is used to officially recognized Louisiana’s time in the Confederacy.

        We can’t pretend the flag only represents the service of Confederate soldiers… it represents much more than just that. It is what it is.

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        1. Lyle Smith

          Oh, and I’m definitely not saying people can’t fly the battle flag if they want to. They can. I just think they shouldn’t.

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          1. Andy Hall

            I’d be happy if they would just be willing to take the heat they get for it, without whining about how they’re being persecuted by the forces of political correctness, forced to the back of the bus, etc.

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        2. Andy Hall

          Yes. Objections to the Confederate Battle Flag have far more to do with how it was used in the 1960s, than the 1860s. I cannot understand why the SCV refuses to acknowledge that very reasonable people have legitimate reason to find the CFB offensive, and instead insist that anyone who objects to its public display does so out of their own ignorance.

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          1. Lyle Smith

            I can see where they are coming from, but I think it is a foolish position to take. The flag can’t just be pigeon holed into one particular meaning of its many meanings. It’s a compelling argument to stick it with the the service of the soldiers, but it is also the flag of the Klan and segregationists.

            That is a symbol of slavery as well doesn’t bother me as much, otherwise I’d have to support not flying the Stars and Bars as well, and I think we should remember the Confederacy and slavery in some form or fashion.

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        3. Chad Soileau

          I know this is late, but I beg to differ with you Mr. Smith: Louisiana flies the Third National Flag in the foyer of the State Capitol as well as the Senate Chamber…..so, I am not sure where you can claim that the First National officially recognizes Louisiana’s time in the Confederacy. Besides, the Third Naional Flag was the last Confederate Flag lowered in the state was done so in Shreveport in 1865..so its existence after the Stars and Bars gives it prominence. The Stars and Bars in many historical displays are only there because of political correctness. In any event, the issue at hand with this original story is the Battle Flag which remains the most fitting when honoring Confederate troops. Oh, and thanks for allowing us to fly the battle flag. Fortunately people don’t always allow their minds to be made up about the battle flag based on what racists or segregationists do or did.

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      3. Chad Soileau

        Lyle, how is the 1st National used to officially recognize Louisiana’s time as part of the Confederacy? It seems that only those communities that want to be politically correct use that flag. One need only look at the display of flags inside the grand foyer of the state Capitol in Baton Rouge and in the senate chamber of the same building to see that the 3rd National Flag is used to officially recognize that time period. I just don’t understand people who so easily allow the meaning attached to a flag by knucklehead racists be more powerful than the one that represents the soldier who fought and died to defend it. Andy, you weren’t by chance run out of the SCV, were you?

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        1. Lyle Smith

          Chad,

          I recall the Stars and Bars being in the capitol building in Baton Rouge. In my native parish the Stars and Bars flies with all the other official parish flags. Any of the national flags will do actually. So the third flag is fine by me if it is there, but none of the flags of the Confederacy were the actual battle flag… which has become the emblem of white supremacy. And you can’t utilize the battle flag and not be associating yourself with white supremacy, that’s the history of that flag and our South, i.e. slavery and then segregation.

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  7. Chad Soileau

    Andy, I didn’t mean that last comment to be personal, it just seems like you hold a grudge againt the SCV. It would seem to me that they know how some folks feel about the flag and it’s not whining when responding to attacks on the flag, just doing what their mission dictates they do. Might be whining to you but seems like what needs to be done in this politically correct atmosphere. They may never win the fight, but at least their Ancestors and other descendants will know the organization stood up when no one else did.

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  8. Nat Turner's Son

    That young man just seeking his Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame. I see that shirt a disrespectful use of the flag. I also hate to see folks wear USA Flags shirts. Flags are respecting and flying not wearing.

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  9. Walter Londell Milburn III

    I, Mr. Walter Londell Milburn III, was the only person given permission by Mr. Jessie Bellard of the St. Landry Parish Government, where his close relative Mr. Don Menard is the president, to have this protest!!! I also spoke with our African-American Chief of Police Mr. Perry Gallow to have permission tohave this protest on the streets as well as on the St. Landry Parish Courthouse steps!!! Our great and magnificent African-American Mayor of the City of Opelousas, Louisiana, Mr. Don Cravins,Sr., was also informed of this protest!!! The low turnout was due to Mardis Gras festivities that were about to be underway and the threat of storm clouds looming overhead!!! This simply shows that the Confederate Sons of whoever they are have no class and acted as if they were bullies by sending a representative to crash a nonviolent demonstration!!! I personally think that they sent him there purposefully to try to crank up some action!!! They watched to much of “The Wedding Crashers”!!! I know that Mr. Paul South and Mr. Freddie Herpin are great individuals that work for The Daily World, which is a Gannett Media company, always remain professional and report unbiased news!!! So it seems to me that the Confederates needed their fifteen minutes of fame!!! I love the movie the “Matrix” because THE ONE, NEO, played by actor Keanu Reeves was in love with a woman named TRINITY and I am in love with a HOLY TRINITY!!! If it were not so this little protest would have gotten violent!!! !!! !!! But the TRUTH IS: THERE IS NO SPOON!!! CHANGE IS COMING AMERICA!!! DO YOU FEEL IT, DO YOU SMELL IT, DO YOU TASTE IT??? !!! CHANGE IS INEVITABLE!!! THE ONE: OUT!!! !!! !!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Chad Soileau

      Umm, did anything George Gremillion do “crash” your party Mr. Milburn? It certainly did not. I am not sure what you are so upset about in the first place. The newspaper gave you your 15 minutes of fame and apparently did not bother to even ask the SCV about anything regarding this issue. Chill out and lose all the exclamation points.

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    2. Chad Soileau

      Ans, you didn’t seem to mind SCV member Gremillion putting his arm around you or helping light the candle either…….

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