Sid Miller heard a Confederate group was excluded from a Veteran’s Day parade. His Facebook response? “Get a rope.”
When Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller read a Facebook post on Saturday that accused officials running a Veteran’s Day parade in his hometown of Stephenville of denying entry to a Confederate group, his response was swift.
“Who told them to leave?” he commented. “Get a rope.”
Within a few hours, after fellow commenters had gone after him for the remark, he added to his original comment, writing “Good grief people, it’s a joke,” and saying it was a reference to a Pace salsa commercial.
According to the fact-checking site Snoops.com the statement by Sid Miller contains many falsehoods:
Public Law 810 of 1929 refers to Part II, Chapter 23 of U.S. Code 38 which says that the government should, when requested, pay to put up monuments or headstones for unmarked graves for three groups of people:
(1) Any individual buried in a national cemetery or in a post cemetery.
(2) Any individual eligible for burial in a national cemetery (but not buried there), except for those persons or classes of persons enumerated in section 2402(a)(4), (5), and (6) of this title.
(3) Soldiers of the Union and Confederate Armies of the Civil War.
No portion of the law appears to confer any privilege other than markers for graves of Confederate soldiers, nor does it grant Confederate soldiers status equal to those of veterans of the United States military. As of 1901, 482 individuals (not all soldiers) were already interred in the Confederate section of Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1868, President Andrew Johnson pardoned Confederate soldiers, but did not grant them U.S. veteran status. Public Law 85-425 was passed 23 May 1958, entitling the widows of deceased Confederate soldiers (what few were left by 1958) to military pensions:
To increase the monthly rates of pension payable to widows and former widows of deceased veterans of the Spanish-American War, Civil War, Indian War, and Mexican War, and provide pensions to widows of veterans who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
A National Archives and Records Administration document details the matter of Confederate soldiers and pensions, and shows that the law seems to recognize those who fought for the Confederacy as veterans of a war, but not necessarily of the United States military.
The last recorded Confederate soldier deaths were in 1959, meaning that the 1957 law had negligible effects for those under its provisions, and in any event the law again conferred no status or other benefit to Confederate soldiers themselves.
Miller’s spokesman, Todd Smith, said he did not know anything about Saturday’s comment.
Burton Smith, one of the parade’s coordinators, said the Sons of Confederate Veterans were asked to take down Confederate flags in order to participate in the parade; instead, he said, the group decided to leave altogether.
“My understanding is that it would be inappropriate for the military to be involved in a parade with the Confederate flag flying,” Smith said.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2019/11/09/sid-miller-confederate-get-a-rope/.
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