April 9, 2006

SCPO James Hennig, U.S. Navy, said he was proud and honored to be at the April 9th ceremony.
Jim and Pickett Society President Pat Wood.
  April 9, 2006, began as cold and windy on the Surrender Ground in Virginia. One hundred and forty-one years earlier, one of the final battles of the War Between the States took place there in Appomattox, Virginia. During that battle, mostly cavalry, more Confederate and Union soldiers died. And some of them were not returned to their homes for burial. Nineteen soldiers -- 18 Confederate and 1 Union -- rest side by side in a cemetery within site of the place where General Lee surrendered his army to General Grant. Each grave has a marker although only eight of their names are known. Eighteen Confederate battle flags blow in the breeze along with one United States flag. It is a pleasant and poignant place, well cared for by the Appomattox Chapter No. 11, United Daughters of the Confederacy, for over 100 years.
The UDC Chapter sponsors a memorial service in the little cemetery each year on April 9th. There were flowers and flags and prayers and speakers and gun salutes and lots of attendees. One of the speakers referred to the "rebel yell of General Pickett's men," citing the exceptional courage of Southrons. National Park Service Curator and Historian, Chris Calkins, spoke about the fighting that took place April 8 and April 9 in 1865 on the ground where we stood. As the ceremony was concluding, a former U. S. Naval officer, Senior Chief Petty Officer James Hennig, was asked to address the crowd. He had provided the United States flag that was flown during the ceremony.

During his brief remarks, he mentioned that General George E. Pickett had been one of his heroes for quite some time. Jim's interest in history goes back to his boyhood, and history's lessons have served him well. Just prior to his deployment to Yemen after the U.S.S. Cole was bombed, he was visiting Richmond and found his way to Hollywood Cemetery and General Pickett's monument. He told us that he could not describe his feelings except that he felt a strong bond, a kinship with Pickett and his men. Jim picked up a small ANVA flag someone had placed at the general's monument and took it with him. He carried that little flag under his bulletproof vest during both of his Persian Gulf tours. Upon his return to the United States, Jim returned to Hollywood Cemetery and placed the little ANVA flag back at the site in front of the Pickett monument. And he stood at attention and saluted General Pickett. He told the general that we had prevailed.

Jim received lots of applause, for himself and what he has done for his country and for telling us the story about his sharing General Pickett's flag.

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Created: 05-16-06
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