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Capt. John T. Lesley Camp #1282

Sons of Confederate Veterans

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Flag Pole and Monument Project - Page 2

November 22, 1998


Bethlehem Cemetery image of completion.  Honour paid...this eternal monument captures the heartfelt gratitude and loving memories for our beloved Southland

"Sacred Ground" con't.

The hour long ceremony featured prayers, emotional poetry readings and a rendition of "Dixie" sung by the Rev. David Shenning, minister of music at First Baptist Church of Brandon. Hillsborough County Commissioner-elect Ronda Storms spoke about the sacrifices of Southern women as they supported their men and tended to their homes. She drew applause when she said she believed many women of today no longer have that kind of integrity.

Joyce Upthegrove of Plant City brought her daughter and four sons to the afternoon event. "We like to include the children because we like for them to be exposed to their heritage," said Upthegrove, who homeschools her children. "My oldest son was Stonewall Jackson in a play we did, and we've been interested since then." Daughter Nikki, 16, said she has grown to enjoy watching military re-enactments. "I used to not think they were fun, but since we've been going, it's interesting," she said. "You learn a lot, too."

About two dozen descendants of the Confederate soldiers buried in Bethlehem Cemetery were seated together under a canopy and honored for their ancestors' bravery. Becky Wilder said she found out about her Confederate roots in the past year. She pointed to the tears on her cheeks to convey her feeling about the ceremony. "It's prideful," she said, shortly after listening to a lone bugler play "Taps." "When you look back and find out what our ancestors had to go through, what they had to fight for to give us the freedom to live the way we want to live, it makes me proud, not only to be a Southerner but also a citizen of the United States."

Donna Koehn writes about news of the Brandon area and can reached at (813) 685-4581.

One view of the hundreds gathered to remember.


Florida State Representative Johnnie Byrd, presenting the Governor's Proclamation.


John T. Lesley Camp Honour Guard.  L to R:  Capt. Ross Lamoreaux, Private Rob Gates, Private Frank Jakes, Private Bob McDermid, Private Mathew Diaz, Private Jordan Busch, Private Jarno Matthews.

Florida National Guard Colour Guard.

View Inventory of Confederate Veterans Interred at Bethlehem Cemetary