Charlottesville may very well go down as a turning point in American history where everything changed. Roughly a thousand members of the Alt-Right, various nationalist organizations, and independent conservative free speech advocates gathered at Lee Park in the small, nominally peaceful town of Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest attempts by the left-wing city council to remove a monument dedicated to one of the greatest generals in American history, Robert E. Lee. An honored veteran of the Mexican-American War, former superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and an open opponent of secession with greater than thirty years of service in the U.S. Army, Lee only heeded the call to join the ranks of the Confederate Army after Lincoln’s call for troops to invade the seceded states triggered the secession of his home state of Virginia. During the ensuing War for Southern Independence, Lee carved out a reputation as both a brilliant military commander and the archetype of the Christian Southern gentleman. After that terrible war was over, he actively advocated for the reconciliation of North and South and attempted to build bridges for a future together. For a time, his efforts and those of men like him were fruitful. The monument to General Lee at Charlottesville was erected in 1924, and up until the middle of the twentieth century, Lee was a well-regarded figure across regional and political lines. As unlikely a figure as Franklin Delano Roosevelt had this say at a dedication of another statue of Lee in Dallas in 1936: “All over the United States, we recognize him as a great leader of men, as a great general. But, also, all over the United States I believe that we recognize him as something much more important than that. We recognize Robert E. Lee as one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.”1 How ironic then that, today, Lee of all men should be so viciously slandered and denounced by the radical left! Meanwhile, all Confederate memorials (as well as those portraying the Founding Fathers themselves) are considered by the same people to be symbols of oppression and white supremacy.
All of this is part and parcel of a much larger conflict, a concerted war on whites, especially conservative, orthodox Christian whites, both here and abroad. From small town Virginia, to Europe, to South Africa, all over the world whites are under attack by Marxists bent on erasing our honorable Christian, Western heritage and replacing it with a morally depraved humanistic Babel that extols the most pernicious of vices and condemns all that is good, honest, and pure. Up until now, conservative whites in the U.S. have fared somewhat better than our compatriots overseas. Our Constitution guarantees rights for us that our cousins across the pond don’t possess in as great measure. Likewise, up until very recently we have generally enjoyed the benefits of more or less fair policing that seeks to ensure the rights, lives, and property of all are respected. However, in the last several years, the radical left has become increasingly vocal and violent. The anger among blacks following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody and the ensuing protests led to the Mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, instructing “officers to allow protestors to express themselves and [stating] that ‘we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.’” Space to destroy: that is truly the ultimate goal of the radical left in this country. They cannot build anything. Like the thief in our Lord’s parable, all these people know how to do is steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). They are barbarians at the gates of our civilization.
When I first heard of the Unite the Right (UTR) rally several months ago, I was not confident I would attend. While I had enjoyed the fellowship of members of one of the participating groups for many years, and attended a small rally or two before honoring our shared Southern heritage, potentially hazardous confrontations with foaming-at-the-mouth Antifa was not really my cup of tea. I’m not a warrior by any stretch of the imagination. And most larger rallies to date have been a significant distance from my small-town home in the rural Upper South, regardless. Like most Southern men, my principal occupation has been simply keeping a roof over my head and food in my mouth, and caring for my own family as best I can, while praying for all those in harm’s way. But with Charlottesville, I felt something I had not felt before, a sense of urgency – that this could be a turning point in the battle to preserve our godly Christian and Southern heritage and show the leftist mob that conservative whites, Southern and non-Southern alike, could stand together and with one voice proclaim that we would “not go gentle into that good night.” As the event loomed closer, it became obvious that this was likely going to be the largest gathering of the Right in decades. And given this fact, it was important to have as many people present to stand for our heritage and interests as possible. So, two nights before the rally, I booked a hotel and starting packing my bags.
The drive up was absolutely majestic. I had travelled the foothills of Virginia before, though it had been several years, and I was struck afresh by the raw beauty of the landscape: the rolling hills, the mountains, and the thick vibrant forests. I understood how impossible it was that Robert E. Lee could have ever turned his back on that land that had nourished and shaped the character of himself and his family for generations. The intimate feelings that a Southern man has for the very soil itself may sound strange to some, but after generations of being rooted in a given place, the land does shape and mold you. It becomes a part of you. And for this reason, it becomes that much more of an affront when outsiders take over the land of your forefathers and tell you that your ancestors were wicked and should be remembered only with contempt. Like many college towns, Charlottesville is plagued with a solidly Marxist government: a left-wing Jewish Mayor (Michael Signer) and a Vice Mayor (Wes Bellamy) who is a supporter of the violent Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Black Panther movements. Bellamy, the man at the center of the push to remove Gen. Lee’s monument, is himself about as vile a figure as can be imagined. Some of the comments he’s made publically are of such an outrageous and perverse nature that they can hardly be repeated by a Christian. While the left insisted the monument was a symbol of racism and bigotry, it is clear that Bellamy himself is principally motivated by racial hatred and bigotry towards Southern whites and our heritage.
Arriving at my hotel the afternoon before the rally, it appeared law enforcement was taking the event very seriously. State police were already entrenched, and National Guard members were also present on standby. It wasn’t certain at that time how many counter-protesters (Antifa, BLM, etc.) would show up. We expected around 1,000 on our side (all groups combined), maybe a few hundred counter-protesters on the other. But with the sizable police presence we reasonably expected the rally on Saturday to be peaceful and conducted without incident. In most places where conservative and nationalist groups on one side and left-wing counter protesters on the other have faced off before, the police had made preparations beforehand to keep the two groups physically well separated to ensure everyone’s safety. My organization had faced opposition from Antifa at rallies in the past, but those events were generally concluded peacefully without injury on either side. This was to the benefit of us, our opponents, and the townsfolk of the areas where the rallies were held. After all, who in their right mind wants a brawl in their city, regardless of who started it? It would become all too clear the next day, however, that those running the city of Charlottesville were not in their right minds.
Many men from my group were staying at a location outside the city, and I went over as soon as I unpacked to check things out and prepare for Saturday. My organization and others standing with us had a short strategizing session, and then my group met by ourselves to go over where we were going to meet in the morning, where we would park, what route we would take to the rally (trying to avoid “choke points” where we could potentially be ambushed), what to bring with us, and what generally to expect. “You can never be overprepared” is a sound mantra. While prior encounters with Antifa had generally ended without harm, we tried to be prepared for a reasonable worst-case scenario. Antifa, after all, were often unpredictable and frequently came armed for a fight with clubs, mace, and other weapons. They were also known to throw bottles of urine, feces, rocks, and bricks, making them a threat even at a reasonable distance. All of our men were encouraged to bring a helmet and safety goggles for basic protection. We had a limited number of large shields for use as cover and to deflect any projectiles thrown at us. Several men were also prepared for more “active” defense. We sincerely hoped none of it would be necessary. We had medics prepared to treat any injuries sustained by our people or any other group standing with us. Before we adjourned for the night, we prayed in Jesus’s name that God would protect our men and women and enable us to stand for the honor of our Christian forebears and in defense of the civilization they created.
The next morning I headed out bright and early to meet with the rest of my group. We planned to meet up with another closely allied group at another location just outside the city and then travel to the park together. I had initially brought my large Confederate Navy Jack with me to carry in the rally. But we had an extra left-handed shield on hand and a volunteer was solicited to carry it. So, being one of the few lefties in attendance, I raised my hand, took it, and off we went. At our rendezvous point, we got out of the vehicles, waited for any stragglers to show up, and I and the other shieldmen drilled for a few minutes going over some basic defensive maneuvers. At this point I honestly began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. But no time for second thoughts! We were carrying the shields not mainly for our own protection, but for that of everyone with us. And they were depending on us. This was not everyone’s first rodeo, but for those of us for which it was, we just had to learn quickly and do our best. After all were gathered who were expected, we piled back into the vehicles and headed toward Lee Park. The short trip to our destination was uneventful, and we parked at the Market Street garage, directly adjacent to the Charlottesville Police Station and just a few blocks east of the park. Police were already present on the roof of the garage, and no Antifa or BLM were in sight. A few individuals headed to the wrong parking location and, as we waited for them to arrive, those present got into formation to march in together. We men on shield duty lined up near the front. I got a friend to carry my flag in my place and made him promise to fly it proudly and bring it back to me at the end of the afternoon! Then came the moment we’d all been waiting for. Spirits were high and the mood in the air was electric. We gave a robust shout and started marching to the rally.
As we approached the intersection of 2nd Street NE and E Market near the park entrance, I am sure the hearts of all but the most battle-hardened among us sank. Gathered before us was probably the single largest mob of Antifa any of us had ever seen. There were more than a few hundred, a lot more. They probably had at least as many people as the UTR side, just a bit more spread out. A solid mass of screaming, cursing, miscreants, armed for war, were directly between us and the park. Giving up and going home was not an option. Southern men don’t tuck tail and run just because the odds are against us. We had expected police to take reasonable precautions to avoid unnecessary conflict and injuries, as had been done in other cities and states where rallies had been held that brought leftist opposition. We expected Antifa to be behind barricades and for our group to have more or less safe entry into the park. We did, after all, have a legal permit for the event, which the City of Charlottesville revoked, but a federal judge had ordered reinstated. We expected to have to directly confront only a few rogue Antifa who slipped around the barriers and perhaps deflect a few bottles thrown at us. We had actively coordinated with the police up until the night before the rally. We made it clear we were a law-abiding organization and wanted to do everything by the book. But, at that moment, as the Antifa stood before us, we realized we were facing something we had been completely unprepared for. We had been set up. The police never had any intention of protecting us, ensuring our ability to peacefully exercise our First Amendment rights, or maintaining order at all. They had been ordered to stand down. We were on our own.
One of our compatriots, a former marine, had said the night before, “All the best laid plans go out the window when you meet the enemy.” And that they did. But, we marched forward, shieldmen at the front, trying to push a hole in the Antifa lines our people could advance through. The immediate results were exactly what you would expect. Antifa and BLM immediately began to attack us with everything they had. It wasn’t long before I was targeted. I was spun around as an Antifa member tried to rip my shield out of my arms. I managed to hold on to it and pull it away from him. I was then attacked from behind, shoved to the ground and kicked. I’d never been in a real fight in my life and at this point we were all in serious danger. Time slowed down. The screams of the mob grew quiet. My mind simply focused on two thoughts. “Get up!” and “Keep moving forward.” As I got back to my feet, and steadied myself I was immediately sprayed from behind. My neck and arms were covered and began to burn. Thankfully, my safety goggles protected my eyes or I would have been in serious trouble, as I had been briefly separated from the vanguard at this point. I then ran to catch up to the front. After making it through the swarm we had to make it down a short sidewalk and up a narrow set of stairs to get into the park. Even though we were out of direct striking distance, this was a choke point at which we were particularly vulnerable to thrown objects. As we advanced forward in the narrow corridor, we lined up our shields facing the mob and moved single file up the stairs and into the park as quickly as possible. We were met with cheers from the crowd on our entrance. But this was not yet the time to celebrate. Once inside, we regrouped and formed a shield wall at the perimeter. The police were standing inside their own barricades, motionless, letting the Antifa riot and attack our people with impunity. No one among us let down their guard for a moment.
Within the (very) relative safety of the park, we had a few minutes to catch our breath and tend to our injuries. I had fared pretty well, all things considered. My left elbow was bloodied, my right knee scraped, my neck was on fire (and continued to be for several hours), and I had a few assorted bumps and bruises, but I was okay. I found out later they had used BEAR spray on us. Most in my group were in similar shape to me: rattled, but resolute; a little bruised, but not seriously injured. Our clothes and flags were covered in mace, and some had been unlucky enough to have assorted bodily fluid thrown on them. Our medics were quick to treat anyone from any group in the park needing assistance, including at least one reporter maced by the Antifa. Not everyone present had fared as well. There were several serious injuries, mainly guys without helmets who had been clubbed and had their scalps sliced open. But enough individuals were present on our side with some medical expertise to bandage up the wounded. The rally proper had still not begun by this point. After standing guard at the perimeter for a short time, we got word that members of one of our allied groups were still outside the park and in trouble. The shieldmen were instructed to go back out into the street and try to escort our allies safely into the park. We didn’t get far before a severe attack from the Antifa brought us to a standstill. At this point they had started lobbing rocks, bricks, and large smoke bombs in our direction. I heard several loud bangs coming from different directions and smoke from the smoke bombs was clouding the air immediately in front of us. We could go no further. We regrouped again and held position just outside the barricades surrounding the park, shields held high to block the thrown projectiles. Very shortly after this we heard over loudspeakers that our gathering had been declared an unlawful assembly and that we were ordered to disperse. So our lawful, permitted rally was shut down due to Antifa violence that the police had made no effort to control. We then heard a state of emergency had been declared and the National Guard deployed.
At this point, there was complete confusion and chaos among the attendees. We had been ordered to disperse, but how were we to disperse? Antifa was still rioting outside the park. They were between us and our vehicles. We couldn’t go back that way. At least that seemed like a bad idea. Folks were going in different directions and members of all the groups got separated. The police had generally got themselves out of harm’s way and abandoned us to fend for ourselves. Many UTR attendees, including myself and a few others from my party, headed in the opposite direction away from the Antifa toward McIntire Park, about a mile and a half north. Many more exiting individuals suffered injuries from Antifa and BLM rioters. I encountered one man on the way who had been maced and temporarily blinded, and was being led along by several individuals who tried to treat him as we moved. Antifa was behind us. We didn’t know how far back they were, but knew we shouldn’t stay stationary. Their group saw I had a shield and asked for protection as they attempted to treat the man. After about a half-mile, one of the older members of my party’s knees went out and could go no further. We found a small grassy area to stop. In the same area, another party had stopped and was busily bandaging a man who had suffered several serious gashes in the back of his head after being struck by Antifa. He was in bad shape and needed immediate medical attention. As those who had stopped to help talked to him, we learned he had come to the rally alone from Massachusetts and was not affiliated with any of the groups present. A great concern with this was that there was no one to stay with him, secure his vehicle, etc. The other group tried to ensure one of their own would be available to check on him and notify his family. I spotted a local police officer just across the road sitting in his vehicle watching us, went over to him (leaving my shield with my compatriots, not wanting to be confused for having any hostile intent – not that the folks on OUR side had any such intent, regardless…), and told him he needed to call an ambulance to the scene for the injured man. EMTs arrived about five minutes later and took him away. At this point my group spotted a group of police and National Guard at the next intersection. We helped our own compatriot up and were able to make it over to them and temporary safety. This gave us a moment to breathe and call our people to get an update on where everyone else was. We were able to get in contact with a member of our group who had stayed behind in case of trouble and who had a van, and about twenty minutes later we were able to get picked up. As we drove along, we found some more stranded men and women of our group and filled the van to capacity.
But now we had another dilemma. At this point, even if we could get back to the parking garage, no one was being allowed to leave it. This was a far from ideal situation, as our van driver needed to be able to go back out and continue to pick up more stranded people. The alternative was to drop us off as near to the garage as we could get, but Antifa and BLM were still on the streets, more scattered, but still equally dangerous, if not more so. We drove around for a short time and then headed back toward the parking garage. At this point normal rules of the road had gone out the window. Everyone was concentrated on simply getting out of harm’s way. We had to slowly drive through a group of Antifa on the way back. One of them attempted to break out the window next to me. Thankfully, the glass was very thick and held. We parked a short distance from the garage near an intersection where an officer was directing traffic, waiting to hear when we would be allowed in and permitted to depart in our vehicles. Once we got word that the garages were open for entering and exiting, we headed back to where we had parked and found several of our men already there. Our driver immediately went back out after other people. This was a common thread in the aftermath of our dispersal: members of various UTR groups having vehicles with passenger room to spare spent a good chunk of the afternoon ferrying individuals to safety. Some especially brave souls among my group’s number had gone back through the mob directly to the parking garage and made it through relatively unscathed, despite being attacked by Antifa and BLM members on the way. My friend, to whom I had given my flag at the beginning, was attacked twice on the march back to the garage and suffered a blow to the head from Antifa resulting in a bad bump, but he was otherwise healthy and didn’t have to go to the hospital. He kept the flag flying high.
At this point, folks started heading back to our initial meeting place, where we started the morning. We determined in short order that all of our people were accounted for and none were seriously injured. We then did our best to unwind from the grueling, but satisfying, day. The Lord had protected our people. And as long as we were able, we had stood in defense of our kinsmen, our heritage, our faith, and our God. We were all tried by fire and came out stronger for it. Charlottesville may be the first time in decades when conservative whites have stood up en masse against the godless and degenerate hordes who would seek to dispossess us and deconstruct the foundations of Western Civilization and Christian Law, but God willing, it will not be the last. It is my prayer that our people will see past the media propaganda and realize who the real enemy is and what the true stakes are in this fight. The outcome will determine the kind of future our children and grandchildren will have, whether or not they will even have a future in this land that our forefathers established for themselves “and [their] Posterity.” In these trying times when the forces of the evil one promoting globalism, multiculturalism, secularism, and perversion seem ascendant, it is incumbent upon all of God’s people to humble ourselves and pray, seeking His will and guidance in all things. We must individually and corporately turn from our own ways and recommit ourselves to His. Then and only then will our future be secure. But of course, faith without works is dead. We must also have the courage to get out from behind our keyboards and take action in the REAL world. There is little more edifying and necessary in these present dark times than for God’s people to join with those of like mind, both those who currently belong to Him and those He is in the process of bringing to Himself through our witness, in the fight for the survival of our people and the honor of our Christian heritage.
- Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936 Vol. 5, pg. 214 ↩