Press Release from the Missouri Division Chief of Heritage Operations:
Last week the Sons of Confederate Veterans organization conducted a nationwide program known as CSA Wreaths Across America, placing holiday wreaths on Confederate graves across the land. There are approximately 275 Confederate graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. Each grave received a wreath at a total cost of over $4,000. They were placed on the graves by local volunteers. But a cemetery Superintendent ordered them removed, by his employees, because, as he later explained, “Those graves are not United States graves”. Volunteers were permitted to replace them after the Superintendent’s ignorance was corrected.
By ignorance we mean, with all due respect, the definition of the term – not knowing. But how can a person who is charged with decision making responsibility at Jefferson Barracks display ignorance of Congressional acts concerning status and definition of Confederate veterans? Acts which apply directly to his job? On four separate occasions Congress has passed acts declaring and confirming Confederate veterans to be United States veterans, else their remains would not have been buried at Jefferson Barracks in the first place. They’ve been there for over a century without question, and are so honored at JB during the cemetery’s annual Memorial Day service. Hasn’t the Superintendent been there? Or paid attention? If he questions the graves, why hasn’t he done so (and been corrected) long before now?
It’s not our place to recommend disciplinary action, but we’re concerned about the future concerning our Confederate veterans’ graves at Jefferson Barracks. We wonder if the incident of last week might call for more than a hand slap and a historical lesson or two. According to reports, there have been no other adverse reactions at any other national cemetery, coast to coast, over the CSA Wreaths Across America program. Was it perhaps personal opinion regardless of law? We’re concerned and hereby ask what Jefferson Barracks is doing about it.