Dressed in white, a group of women recently remembered the past, honoring relatives who served in the Confederate States of America’s army, navy or civil service.
Members and guests of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Tampa Chapter 113, gathered on a recent Saturday morning for the Confederate Memorial Day Celebration.
Meeting around the Hillsborough County Confederate Monument, called Memoria In Aeterna, the women read names of ancestors from across the South. As the names were read, member Gail Crosby dropped rose petals on the steps of the Italian marble statue in front of the former Hillsborough County Courthouse.
As church bells downtown rang, the Rev. Robert Brookover, who gave the invocation, said: “We are reminded of when another church bell rang – when mothers and fathers committed to the life they shared throughout the South.”
The United Daughters of the Confederacy is a women’s lineage society and heritage association, founded in 1994, dedicated to honoring the memory of those who served in the military and died in service to the Confederate States of America.
Tampa Chapter 113 was chartered in June 1897 and meets monthly from September through May, with the next meeting May 11 at the Columbia Restaurant. The chapter has 46 members and is part of the Florida division of the national organization.
“We don't want another battle between the states,” said June Bolen, chapter president. “But we do want to honor our ancestors.”
The organization also is involved with today’s veterans, said Gail Grosby, a past Florida division president.
“We are extremely busy with patriotic activities, giving hours and goods to the James A. Haley VA Hospital and much more,” Crosby said. “We work with students wishing to apply for various UDC scholarships.”
Crosby said the chapter sends cards and notes regularly to 15 “real daughters” whose fathers actually served in the Civil War.
“They were born between the early 1900s and 1930 to their father’s second or third wife,” she said.
Tampa Chapter 113 also sponsors Belles & Beaux Chapter 887, Children of the Confederacy.
The chapter’s members also maintain downtown's historic monument, funded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and unveiled Feb. 8, 1911. The Italian marble piece originally was at the southwest corner of Franklin and Lafayette streets and moved to its location at 419 Pierce St. in 1952.
The statue has a solider facing north – representing the warrior heading off to war in 1861 – and a soldier facing south as the battered and injured veteran returns home.
For information the organization, see www.hqudu.org. For information about the Tampa Chapter 113, contact Crosby at firstname.lastname@example.org.