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Confederate Memorial Day service planned at church in Forsyth

FORSYTH COUNTY — The sesquicentennial anniversary of the end of the Civil War recently passed, but one group Saturday is honoring those Southerners who paid the heaviest price.

A Confederate Memorial Day Celebration is set for 3 p.m. at Beaver Ruin Baptist Church. It is sponsored by the Col. Hiram Parks Bell Chapter 2641 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, with assistance Camp 1641 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which also bears Bell’s name.

President Monty Johnson said attendees will decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers buried at the church.

“We just adjourn to the cemetery where we have a very short little prayer, a song is sung from the Confederate era, and then we place a wreath on the grave,” Johnson said. “We choose one grave to put the wreath on, and then we normally walk over and have a roll call and place a rose on that person’s tombstone.”

In addition to decorating graves, there will be salutes to the state, U.S. and Confederate flags.

“We have some re-enactors, they are a re-enactor team that has the same regimental numbers as Col. Hiram Parks Bell had,” Johnson said. “[Bell] was the commander of that particular regiment.”

Robert Jones, director of the Kennesaw Historical Society, will give the memorial address and a Vietnam Cross of Military Service will be awarded to Emory Jackson Hagan III, a direct descendant of Cpl. Aaron J. Hagan of Georgia’s 6th Cavalry.

“We are bestowing a medal upon a Marine retired lieutenant colonel … he is a brigadier general in the California state militia,” Johnson said. “He’s going to be receiving that medal based on his ancestor, who was a Confederate soldier.”

Johnson said the groups try to hold the annual service in different church cemeteries where Confederate veterans are buried. She said Beaver Ruin Baptist may have up to a dozen graves of soldiers.

“They’re all over Forsyth County,” she said. “Some of them have as few as three or four. They think there’s up to 12 in that cemetery.”