2014/07/27

Va Flaggers Update: Marker Dedication Service for Samuel Dawson Bell

The Virginia Flaggers were thrilled to receive an invitation to attend the marker dedication service for Samuel Hawkins Bell, Hankins Co., Virginia Light Artillery, CSA, held yesterdayJuly 26th.  We headed out to Elwood Cemetery in NorfolkSaturday morning, on a very warm July day.
As far as the family knows, Bell's grave has been unmarked since his death.  Through the efforts of his family, and with the assistance of Kenny Harris and the Princess Anne Camp #484, SCV,  a Confederate marker was obtained and installed.

The ceremony was planned and carried out by the family and was a very moving and fitting tribute.
The Princess Anne Camp provided an honor guard and family members traveled from as far away as Arkansas to pay tribute to their ancestor.

I was honored to be asked to share a poem, and we all appreciated the opportunity to be present at such a wonderful ceremony.

Afterwards, we talked with family members and attendees.  At one point, we walked over to the new headstone to get a closer look and take a photo.  As we were standing there, talking about the ceremony and learning more about the family, a man who was walking down the public sidewalk, which was only a few feet away, left the sidewalk and started walking toward us and the marker, at a brisk pace and with a very serious expression.  When he reached us, I greeted him and he immediately inquired "What soldier are we honoring today?"  Admittedly a bit surprised, I pointed to the marker and explained that Samuel Dawson Bell was a Confederate soldier and that his family had gathered here to honor him. 

He immediately turned toward the marker and proceeded to salute and stand at attention, for what seemed like at least 60 seconds.  We all stood quietly, in awe and appreciation of this remarkable expression of respect and honor, one soldier to another.  It turns out the gentleman was a U.S. Marine Corp Veteran.

When he broke from attention, he reached out and shook hands with each of us and we thanked him for stopping to pay respects.  He seemed a bit agitated and we understood why when he pointed to a battle flag that was leaning against a vehicle, in preparation for packing it up to leave, which had slipped from its position, unnoticed, allowing the tip of the flag to touch the ground.  "Please have someone get that flag off of the ground, ma'am.  A soldier's flag must NEVER touch the ground."
As he walked away, we thanked him again, and were left standing there in amazement and in awe of what we had just witnessed.  All present were deeply touched by the scene that had unfolded, and it was the perfect ending to an absolutely wonderful event.
We would like to thank the Bell family, especially Anna Bell and Chris Xantos for the kind invitation and warm welcome, and the men of the Princes Anne Camp who helped make the marker and ceremony possible. 

God bless the memory of Samuel Dawson Bell...and God save the South! 
Susan Hathaway
Va Flaggers
P.O. Box 547
Sandston VA 23150
info@vaflaggers.com

Monday, July 28th:  6:30 p.m. Susan will be speaking at the July meeting of the Princess Anne Camp #484, SCV.  Gus & George's Spaghetti & Steak House, 4312 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Saturday, August 23rd:  2:00 p.m. Re-dedication of the Hanover County Confederate Monument, Hanover County Courthouse.
Sunday, September 28th 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Save the Date!  Va Flaggers' Third Anniversary Picnic. More details to follow.  Live music, good food, and great fellowship.   Silent auction throughout the afternoon. Live auction following supper.  Period artwork and 10 x 15 Battle Flag that flew at the Chester flag site location among many items to be auctioned to support the Va Flaggers.   Donations for auction/raffle items are welcome.  

Saturday, Nov. 1st Susan will be speaking at the 100th Anniversary celebration of the dedication of the Confederate Monument in Lebanon, VA.
Thursday, December 11th:  Susan will be speaking at the December meeting of the A.H. Belo Camp #49, SCV, Dallas Texas

Saturday, December 13th:  Susan will be speaking at the Christmas gathering of the Middleton Tate Johnson Camp #1648, SCV, Arlington, TX.

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