I was elected Commander of the Department of Missouri, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, for the 2016-2017 administrative year and re-elected for the 2017-2018 administrative year. As part of my responsibilities, I wrote a letter to the Department every quarter which was published in the Department’s newsletter, The Missouri Unionist. Below is the sixth such letter.
15 Sept 2017
Brothers of the Department of Missouri,
Fall is upon us and, as we so often observe of late, the color of the leaves is not the only thing which seems to be changing. Time marches on, and more and more events occur which become filters through which this nation views its history. Through times of peace and times of unrest we continue our mission to keep fresh the memory and sacrifices of our Union soldier ancestors. We are keepers of memory, educators of history, and proponents of patriotic duty.
We set forth to honor our Union ancestors, but we are not our Union ancestors. The fruits of reconciliation following the American Civil War have produced descendants who find in their family tree stories of blue and of grey. Our collective conscience still compels us to loudly denounce the evils of slavery, segregation, and white supremacy. These are evils which are undeniably abhorrent, and have no place in a just and free civilization.
Yet, we also naturally wish to protect the honor of our ancestors whatever the color of their uniforms. We denounce those abhorrent causes mentioned which may have driven some to fight, but we must resist those who would offer up en masse the real fathers, brothers, and sons of our family lines as caricatures of hate to fan the flames of division. We are the keepers and teachers of objective history, and God help us in this task. I think about those in our Order who have recently been recognized for their many years of service to our organization. In my comparatively short tenure, I have seen multiple issues of the day which threatened to shake the bonds of Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty we hold dear. Brothers such as Jack Grothe (50+ years), Ed Krieser (30+ years), and Bob Petrovic (30+ years), have endured faithfully as members of the Order through so many more moments of unity and moments of profound disagreement in the ranks. Look to these examples.
Finally, in accordance with General Order #2 released by CinC Mark R. Day, I am not releasing a statement for or against the removal of Confederate monuments from the public square, and this letter is not to be construed as such. I direct you to review the Order’s Battlefield Flag and Monument Policy, a link to which can be found on the front page of our website. “The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War strongly condemn the removal, defacement, or destruction of any Civil War veterans’ monument or tablet, whether Union or Confederate.” This is the official policy of the Order, and thus of this Department, on the issue.
God bless this Union and its perseverance in the cause of freedom.
In Fraternity, Charity, & Loyalty,
Randal A. Burd, Jr., PDC
Department of Missouri, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War