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Group preserves Confederate monument

Special Photo 
Henry County's Confederate Monument on the McDonough Square was erected in April of 1910 (left photo). The landmark (right photo) was re-dedicated this past April in celebration of its centennial anniversary.

Special Photo Henry County's Confederate Monument on the McDonough Square was erected in April of 1910 (left photo). The landmark (right photo) was re-dedicated this past April in celebration of its centennial anniversary.

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

An estimated 400 people crowded the McDonough Square recently to take part in a celebration of the 100-year-old Confederate Monument.

"I think it was a one-time event," said Helen Busbin, president of the Henry County Chapter 2411 United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), in charge of organizing the centennial celebration. "I don't think there will be enough interest in it, in the future, as we feel today," she added.

Busbin said the UDC, along with the Charles T. Zachry Camp 108, Sons of Confederate Veterans, worked for months toward the rededication effort. She said the large stone monument was initially unveiled on April 26, 1910, then recognized as Southern Memorial Day. The rededication took place on April 25, 2010, what is now known as Confederate Memorial Day.

"This confederate monument represents our ancestors of Henry County, who died in the War Between the States," said Busbin, a Henry County native who says her local ancestry dates back 10 generations to the early 1800s.

Busbin said the Confederate Monument exists only by the will and reverence of residents wanting to pay homage to Confederate soldiers who died in duty. "The ladies of Henry County wanted to do something for the soldiers who died in the war," Busbin said. "The ladies put together their money to put this Confederate Monument up."

Busbin said she has found 14 Confederate ancestors in her lineage, which includes several of the county's original families. McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland, another lifelong Henry County resident, said some members of his family took part in the original dedication of the Confederate Monument.

"Back in 1910, my grandfather and grandmother [William Green Copeland and Annie Carmichael Copeland], they were at the original dedication," Copeland said. "I recall them having told me they were at the original dedication."

Copeland, who also addressed the crowd during the rededication, said his grandmother was involved with the group of ladies who organized the effort to have the Confederate Monument at the center of the town square.

"I think it just reminds us of a history of the past," said Copeland, who said his family arrived in Henry County in 1823, from England, by way of South Carolina. "To come back and celebrate the past hundred years, and look to the future, I think it has merit," he added. "It was just an honor for me to welcome the people again."

During the rededication ceremony, UDC Henry County Chapter Chaplain Marcella Mote gave the invocation, which was followed by the Posting of the Colors by the Color Guard of Zachry Camp 108, and then the pledges to the United States Flag, the Georgia Flag, and the salute to the Confederate Flag, led by UDC Henry County Chapter Historian Gail East.

UDC Henry County Chapter Secretary Linda West later unveiled the 100th Anniversary Plaque, escorted by Adjutant James Pollard, of Zachry Camp 108. The 8th Georgia Regimental Band of Rome, Ga., also played an arrangement of "Tenting Tonight."

Several others gave lyrical and musical selections reminiscent of the era. First Lt. Commander Mark Pollard gave the Sons of Confederate Veterans message, which was followed by a rendition of "Dixie" by the 8th Georgia Regimental Band.