Ladies and gentlemen:
After the lapse of more than a quarter of a century since the war ended between the North
and the South
, we come to offer Mississippi
's formal tribute to those who fell upon the Southern
This tasteful monument, due to woman's zeal, is a lasting but tardy testimony of a feeling which has lived and grown in the hearts of the people since they, whose virtues it commemorates, laid down their lives for the honor of the State
A generation has well nigh come and gone since this open tribute was due, and its payment now is proof that we act upon no transient impulse, but a strong and staple sentiment, which has endured and will endure.
This day is distant from the stormy period to which these rites relate; the martial ardor, which the notes of war aroused, has long ago abated, and the seal of Southern honor has been set upon the pledge of peace; yet, after all these years we are here to declare before the world that this monument betokens our cordial recognition and deliberate sanction of the intent and of the action of those whom it commemorates, and that it is our public attestation that their intent was pure and their action honorable.
Neither time nor change nor circumstance can alter this our mature conviction, and to openly affirm it here, this vast concourse of the people have assembled.
It is for this that men and women, old and young, of every shade of taste and opinion and from every vocation in life, have come together to day. They do not come to celebrate a National holiday, nor a day signalized in history by some great civic achievment, nor the anniversary of some decisive battle that fixed a nation's fate, or swept away some old landmark of our race.
It is not ambition, nor the hope of gain, nor self-interest in any form, that brings together these earnest men and women.
They are not here to ask anything from their Government, nor to present any grievance, nor to petition for any redress, nor to protest against any wrong.
With good will to the powers that be, to each other and to the world, they come upon a peaceful and an honorable mission.
It is a sentiment, a mere sentiment, that brings them together, but it is an elevating and an ennobling sentiment.
The soldiers come to attest the sincere motives and the honorable conduct of their dead comrades during the perils and trials of our bloody struggle, and they, and all others