The Alabama Division Reunion was held on June 9th and 10th in West Point, Alabama. Hosted by the Thomas Jefferson Denney Camp for the second year in a row, the Camp went out of its way to put on different events in different places to avoid the resemblance of last years reunion. I will only cover the activities that occurred Saturday in this report. There will be full reunion coverage in the July edition of the Alabama Confederate.
After the opening ceremony held by the camp, the business meeting was gaveled into session by Division Commander Jimmy Hill. The invocation was given by Division Chaplain, Dr. Charles E. Baker. The pledges, flag salutes and the Charge to the SCV were done by 1st Lt. Commander Carl Jones and 2nd Lt. Commander Randall Hughey. Division Adjutant Lee Hattabaugh announced we had a quorum and gave his report. It was noted that we had 62 camps and 2006 members, the minutes were read and approved. The financial report for the current year was given by Division Treasurer Larry Muse. The report showed that the Division was in good shape financially and should be under our budget as the fiscal year draws to an end. We do have some upcoming expenses that we are aware of that will be paid before August 1. One expense that will be taken care of in July will be a $10,000 donation towards the building of the Confederate Museum at Elm Springs. The DEC approved this at the Friday DEC meeting. This will raise the total donated by the Alabama Division to $12,000. This is the final year before the museum will open at next years national convention in Franklin, Tennessee.
Division Commander Jimmy Hill gave a report on things that the Division and camps had been working on since the last reunion. First, the Division website was completely overhauled by webmaster Matthew Young and is now mobile friendly. I encourage you to go the website and go tab by tab to discover everything that is available to you. Second, the reduction of forms and other paperwork by the Division adjutant as we streamline a lot of processes and how to submit forms. Third, the continued development of informational pamphlets for recruiting use by camps. Fourth, the completion of the Forrest monument site at Cedar Bluff. Fifth, Division merchandise is now available for purchase on the website and a new t-shirt was available at the reunion. The camps in attendance were given one free shirt for having a representative at the reunion. We still have about forty shirts available in assorted sizes and colors. After these are gone you will have to order from the website. Sixth, we set a goal to pass the Alabama Monuments Bill and through the efforts of our members who followed the plan designed by Past Commander Gary Carlyle, it was passed and signed by the Governor and last but not least, a mega flag was put up on a 100 foot flagpole on Interstate 22 at the Cordova exit. This was done by the William R. McAdory Camp, the Winston County Grays Camp and the Alabama Division Mechanized Cavalry.
Proclamations and resolutions were read into the minutes. One was for the host camp, thanking them for their hard work in hosting the 2017 reunion. Another was to proclaim July 25th as Law Enforcement Day in the Alabama Division. This is our second year to issue this proclamation and each camp is encouraged to show support for their local law enforcement agencies. This is a prime example of turning a suggestion of a Division member into reality. John Evans of the Cullman camp posted on Facebook his idea and after a brief discussion with him the proclamation was made. A Resolution condemning the Mayor and City Council of New Orleans was read to the attendees. It condemns their actions of removal of the Confederate monuments in the city and we asked our Division members and their families to boycott the city by not travelling to the city or conducting business with the city until they rescind their actions. It passed without any discussion. The law enforcement proclamation and the New Orleans resolution are on the website. We had three amendments to the Division Constitution to discuss. The first was to clarify that Division members 85 years or older will be considered life members for MRS purposes. They will not receive a life member certificate or pin. This passed. The second amendment was to change the duties of Brigade Commanders to include that they were required to hold a training workshop each year in their Brigade. After much debate the amendment was passed. The final amendment was concerning the disciplinary process and this amendment gave the Division Commander authority to suspend or censure a member who charges have been filed on. This has to be reviewed by the DEC before he can do this. The member would be suspended or censured until a hearing could be held by the EC. This amendment passed after some debate.
Drake Holmes of Camp #1537 was introduced to the delegates by Past Division Commander Ronnie Simmons (also Drakes grandfather). Drake is the newest and youngest member of the camp (and Division) at twelve years old. He was inducted into the camp on the Thursday night before the Division reunion. Drake stayed attentive throughout the Division reunion and will be an asset to the organization. Also the Denney Camp took the opportunity to induct Derek Underwood as their newest member as he was sworn in by the camp at the reunion.
We spent a great deal of time discussing the Monuments bill, noting that a group in Huntsville was trying to test it out but seemed not to understand the bill. We also had discussion on how we have members who may be hurting our efforts by their negative posts on Facebook. Although they may mean well, in the future it could harm our efforts.
Dan Williams, Chairman of the Forrest Monument renovation committee gave a report on the progress of the work showing pictures from the starting of the project to where we are at currently. All that remains is the installation of the camp and soldiers bricks. There are a few bricks remaining that can be purchased.
Heritage Chief Cherokee Brasher gave a report on the monuments bill and the ongoing efforts in Demopolis. He brought us up to date on Demopolis and what their future plans entail.
Announcements of upcoming events were given. Some of these are: the dedication of the Alabama flag-pole at Bethany cemetery in Baldwyn, Mississippi. Brigade Commander Mike McMurry will represent the Division, Forrest Boyhood Homecoming at Chapel Hill, Tennessee, the National Reunion in Memphis, the Division trip to the Naval Museum at Columbus, Georgia and the DEC meeting on August 12th. The complete Division 2017-2018 calendar will be on the website.
Our final order of business was the breaking up into brigades for the Brigade Commanders to hold a short meeting with the camps that were at the reunion.
Other items of interest discussed were the Education Conference, Flag Day, Robert E. Lee Day at the archives and possible sites for new flagpoles around the Division.
We adjourned the meeting with a benediction by Dr. Baker.
The Division Memorial service was the next event on the reunion schedule to be held at Crooked Creek Battlefield Park. This was one of the sites where General Forrest battled Colonel Streight on the raid towards Rome, Georgia.
The final event of the reunion was the awards banquet Saturday evening.