New state ballad honors 20th Maine, despite pro-Confederate objections

  
Via:  john-russell  •  3 months ago  •  2 comments

New state ballad honors 20th Maine, despite pro-Confederate objections
“Many of them were great Christian men on both sides. They fought hard and they were fighting for states’ rights as they saw them.”

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


mainebeacon.com

New state ballad honors 20th Maine, despite pro-Confederate objections


Mike Tipping

4-5 minutes




edblog_sm.png With Governor Janet Mills’ signature today, the “ The Ballad of the 20th Maine ” became Maine’s official state ballad.

The stirring anthem recorded and performed by the band The Ghost of Paul Revere tells the story of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which fought for the Union Army under General Joshua Chamberlain in the American Civil War. The regiment is best known for its brave defense of Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2, 1863.

“Music transcends the bounds of time, distance, language, and culture to bring people together,” said Mills as she signed the legislation. “The ‘Ballad of the 20th Maine’ does just that by reminding us of our proud heritage, the role our great state has played in the history of our nation, and to be forever grateful to those who served and saved our country.”

The bill to enshrine the ballad was sponsored by Rep. Scott Cuddy (D-Winterport) and passed without objection in both chambers. It did see some initial opposition in the legislature’s State and Local Government Committee, however, where two Republicans raised objections that the song’s unabashedly pro-Union message may be unfair to the South.

“I find it a little bit, we are united states, we are not Union, we are united states. And I find it just a little bit – I won’t say offensive but that’s what I mean – to say that we’re any better than the South was,” said Rep. Frances Head (R-Bethel) during a May 1st public hearing on the bill.

“I am a lover of history and especially a lover of the civil war period and regardless of what side people fought on, they were fighting for something they truly believed in,” said Rep. Roger Reed (R-Carmel), who specifically praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee. “Many of them were great Christian men on both sides. They fought hard and they were fighting for states’ rights as they saw them.”

Sean McCarthy, a vocalist and bass player for The Ghost of Paul Revere responded to these concerns at the hearing, noting that the song has gone over well even at shows they play in the former Confederacy.

“We’re all in this together. We’re all a part of the Union now and we’re just so very proud to be able to share our Maine history with the rest of the country,” said McCarthy.

“I also agree that we are the United States. I think the great issue that you take is actually with the Confederacy, because they were the ones who were trying to split it,” noted Rep. Cuddy in response to Rep. Head’s remarks. “The Union soldiers were the ones trying to hold it together — and thank God they did, because we are still the United States because they did, and because at the battle of Little Round Top, Joshua Chamberlain charged down with bayonets and routed his opponents.”

Reed eventually voted in favor of the ballad legislation. Head voted against it.

They may represent a minority position, but the statements of these Republicans show just how far the  Myth of the Lost Cause , a systematic effort to rehabilitate the racist legacy of the Confederacy, has spread. These objections were raised in Maine, which contributed a largest number of Union soldiers in proportion to its population of any state.

The American Civil War was fought on the issue of slavery. That’s the “state right” that Confederates were seeking to defend. To ignore or elide that history doesn’t just denigrate the sacrifices of our ancestors, but bolsters  the resurgent white supremacist movement  we’re seeing across our union today.

Hopefully Maine’s new state ballad will help us to remember this truth.



Maine now has a state ballad: “Ballad of the 20th Maine.” Here’s The Ghost of Paul Revere at the State House playing it for the first time as the official ballad  #mepolitics @WABI_TV5   pic.twitter.com/pkGI5CW4XZ
— Paul Dwyer (@PaulDwyerTV)  June 7, 2019


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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    3 months ago

[Verse 1]
My name is Andrew Tozier, I'm a child of Litchfield, Maine
And I left my only family for the sea, the salt, and rain
And when Lincoln called the banners in 1861
Well I joined the union army for the land that I am from

[Verse 2]
We were baptized by fire in the battle of Bull Run
And we fought our southern brothers in the wind, the snow, and sun
And when our time was over I heard the governorsay
"Keep fighting for the union for just another day"
So we joined the lion of Bowdoin, Chamberlain his name
And we marched once more toward battle as the 20th of Maine

[Chorus]
If we should die today, then dream a dream of heaven
Take your northern hearts with you to the grave
Be proud and true you are a union soldier
Stand fast, ye are the boys of Maine

[Verse 3]
Well, our western flank, it was missing
As the confederates, they pushed on
And I fought them tooth and nail
Our ammunition all but gone
And alone I stood with colors
I was Flying proud and true
For to let my northern brothers know
The battle was not through

[Verse 4]
And then appeared our lion, he was roaring bayonets
Charging down the mountain with what forces we had left
'Cause we're as steadfast as Katahdin
We're as hard as winter's rain
Go straight to hell with your rebel yell
We are the boys of Maine

[Chorus]
And if we should die today, then dream a dream of heaven
And take your northern hearts with you to the grave
Be proud and true you are a union soldier
Stand fast, ye are the boys
Stand fast, ye are the boys
Stand fast, ye are the boys of Maine

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2  seeder  JohnRussell    3 months ago

It's hard to see what is objectionable in that lyric. 

Must be a few confederate sympathizer snowflakes up there in Maine

 
 
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