Response To Letter On Fort Fisher 151st Anniversary Event

By / Letters to the Editor / Wednesday, 27 January 2016 05:00

Dear Editor,
I am writing in response to Mr. R.E. Smith, Jr’s letter concerning Fort Fisher’s 151st anniversary commemoration program.
I am offended by Mr. Smith insinuating the Medal of Honor is solely a “northern” award and his implication native North Carolinians should be insulted by Fort Fisher’s program theme.  I am a native North Carolinian.  
My family’s military history goes back to Confederate service and beyond that to service in the American Revolution.  I have brothers on active military duty.  The last time I checked, the Medal of Honor is, and has always been, an American award.  It just so happens, it was created during the Civil War.   
Let’s be reasonable.  What would prompt the United States military to create an award to distinguish acts of bravery and valor during the Civil War?  
They were fighting every branch of the Confederate military, and all were putting up such fearsome opposition it gave rise to actions deemed worthy of a new combat award.  Is that not also an acknowledgement of the Confederates’ courageousness?  
I believe it is.  Furthermore the Medal remains, to this day, America’s highest military honor.  I wager Mr. Smith would not approach any living recipient of the Medal of Honor and tell them it is just a “northern” award.
The post war history of Fort Fisher reveals the veterans from the Union and the Confederacy having a profound respect for one another.  There was at least one reunion which included veterans from both sides. A commemorative medallion was made for the event.  It had the words “Glory Enough For All” on it.  
These former enemies came together as Americans.  They respected one another and the sense of duty that led them to fight in the war.  We should follow their post war example.
Mr. Smith is clearly not a regular visitor to Fort Fisher nor has he kept up with all of the site’s programming. 
Otherwise, he would know research, exhibits, and programs about the Medal of Honor have been ongoing since 2011. 
A smaller exhibit on the Medal was installed for last year’s 150th anniversary program. 
Not one negative comment was ever said about that display at what was the fort’s biggest program ever.  Why did he not feel dismay about that exhibit?  
This is why I do not buy into Mr. Smith’s argument.  He stooped to using his editorial as free advertising for his website at the expense of Fort Fisher’s excellent program while simultaneously belittling the sacrifices made by all who have received the Medal of Honor. 
He should be ashamed of himself.  He is nothing more than a 21st century carpetbagger to me.  I have met many ‘self-hating Southerners’, but he is the first ‘self-hating Yankee’ I have come across.  I refuse to let him get away with sullying my family’s, my state’s, and my country’s military history with his transparent attempt at self-promotion.
Respectfully yours,
Barbara Spencer
Wilmington, NC


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