In honor of Veterans Day I write in memory of my father’s father’s grandfather, Alexander Lovett. This ordinary yet exceptional American fought and suffered nobly for his country and his family.
Genealogy is not a hobby of mine. As a result, I am woefully short on specific information for this story. My apologies. I presume this will not dampen the experience here.
Veterans Day began in 1919 to commemorate the ending of America’s inexplicable involvement in the first chapter of Europe’s great civil war, World War I, on November 11, 1918. Originally, the day was Armistice Day. In 1954 it became Veterans Day.
I claim numerous relatives who fought in just about every American war. My father’s father, for example, was a Marine during WWI. He survived the Battle of Belleau Wood. I would not expect younger readers or those formerly interred in government schools to know of this battle. Few, too, know much about the American “Civil War,” which wasn’t. A civil war is where two or more factions wrest for control of a nation or national government. The Southern states no more wanted to control Washington than they did Paris.
I honesty refer to it as the Southern Revolution or, simply, the War Between The States. It was in this romantic yet senseless conflict that Alexander Lovett served as a foot soldier for the Confederate States Army.
Young Confederate Soldier, not Alexander. Google.
In the 1930s the U.S. government recognized Confederate Veterans as American veterans and hero’s. Alexander never claimed to be a hero though he was a proud veteran.
His service was as mundane as any. I do not know if he volunteered or if he was drafted after 1862.
I do know where he ended up. Sometime during the war he was captured and held as a POW at Rock Island, Illinois. He was one of more than 12,000 Confederate prisoners held there during the war. Nearly 2,000 did not leave alive, being buried on the grounds.
The conditions of the facility and the treatment of the prisoners was deplorable. If I ever visit the site I intend to at least spit on it.
When the war ended the men were simply shown to the street – “free” to go where they would. Like the rest Alexander was forced to walk home – to Georgia! The journey lasted many months. Upon his arrival home he weighed less than 90 pounds (being a man of average stature at the time).
Many men never made it home. Many died during the trip of starvation and exposure.
Alexander never talked much (that I am aware of) about either his prison torture or his service. He simply resumed his daily life in rural Georgia.
Veterans Day is, these days, another excuse to celebrate all things military. That really means celebrating (worshipping, maybe) the glorious state. That I cannot abide. The state is evil incarnate, to be cursed and shunned by the free. Instead, I choose to remember individuals who did their part, in noble fashion, for the cause, right or wrong.
There would be no veterans without war. There would be no war without government. Remember that. It is important to accord proper respect to men who sacrificed. A few of these men fought, some dying, for freedom. Men like Alexander Lovett. Praise to them. To hell with the system which sacrifices them.
Happy Veterans Day.