Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Big Day in Benton County

The Confederate soldier, a few blocks from Wal-Mart Headquarters in the heart of the Bentonville Square, will celebrate his 100th birthday this week. The city’s Confederate monument was erected through the efforts of James H. Berry Chapter No. 821 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and by A. J. Bates, a Bentonville businessman.

Proud city leaders are throwing a party to honor the monument this Friday. Bentonville Mayor Bob McCaslin will read an official proclamation, and box lunches will be available for purchase.
Organizers say they are hoping no one will fly Confederate flags, at least during the event. Not everyone seems to appreciate the importance of the monument to the residents of Benton County, and the county has spent $1,600 to replace its balls stolen by vandals.

Barack Obama, whose Arkansas ancestors fought for the Confederacy during the Late Unpleasantness, is not planning to attend the ceremony. However, many local dignitaries will be in attendance for the event, and it is anticipated that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette will provide extensive favorable coverage of the ceremony and glories of the Lost Cause.

John McCain is flying into XNA and will be bringing his campaign message to Benton County that day. Having chosen the day of the Confederate ceremony to catch local Republicans in a buoyant spirit, McCain will hold a $500-per-person reception later that day at the Embassy Suites on Pinnacle Hills Parkway in Rogers.

McCain did not attend the original parade and dedication of the Confederate statue in 1908.

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