PEARSON — It’s all about the veterans.
That is what Diane Hall of Heber Springs said about the upcoming observance of Confederate Memorial Day on April 26 at the Pearson Cemetery in Cleburne County.
“We want to honor the Confederate veterans,” she said.
Hall will join other members from the Cleburne Memorial Chapter 1757 of the Arkansas Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy, at 11 a.m. April 26 for a marker dedication at the local cemetery. Hall is second vice president and chairwoman of patriotic activities of the local UDC chapter.
Approximately 15 Confederate soldiers are buried at the Pearson Cemetery, said Dorothy Ball of Wilburn, chapter registrar. Ball is also a volunteer and a member of the board of directors for the Cleburne County Historical Society in Heber Springs. She has compiled a list of all known Confederate soldiers buried in Cleburne County in a booklet, “Cleburne County Civil War Veterans,” published in 2007.
“Every year, we choose a different cemetery where we will hold a marker dedication ceremony,” Ball said. “This year we have chosen Pearson Cemetery.
“It is one of the oldest cemeteries in the county,” she said, adding that the chapter has been observing Confederate Memorial Day in this manner since about 2003.
There are approximately 600 graves in the Pearson Cemetery, according to information found on the Cleburne County Historical Society’s website. A list of known cemeteries in the county is also available from the Historical Society.
“We will put Confederate flags on all of the graves of Confederate soldiers,” Ball said. “We will also put the U.S. flag on Union graves.”
Alice George of Higden, first vice president of the UDC chapter, said all of the graves of Civil War soldiers will be marked with the U.S. flag prior to the service on Confederate Memorial Day. Then on April 26, the Confederate flags will be placed in a “crossover” manner with the U.S. flag.
Ball said United Daughters of the Confederacy members will participate in a ritual found in the UDC handbook.
“We will salute or recite pledges to all flags — the Christian flag, the American flag, the Arkansas flag and the Confederate flag,” she said.
Ball said the ceremony will also include the posting of colors by Hall; an invocation given by Judith Luttman of Heber Springs; a reading by the chapter’s president, Carolyn Johnson, on the history of Pearson Cemetery; an explanation of Confederate Memorial Day by Earlene Johnson of Wilburn; the reading of Confederate names by George; and the singing of “Dixie.”
Johnson said the Confederate memorial holiday is “a day set aside in the South to pay tribute to those who served with the Confederate forces during the Civil War.”
Ball said Confederate Memorial Day is usually celebrated on or about April 26.
For more information on the Confederate Memorial Day service at the Pearson Cemetery, call Ball at (501) 250-0288 or the Cleburne County Historical Society at (501) 362-5225.
The Pearson Cemetery is northeast of Quitman at 389 Edgemont Road (Arkansas 16), next to Palestine Baptist Church.