A valediction (derivation from Latin vale dicere, "to say farewell"), or complimentary close in American English, is an expression used to say farewell, especially a word or phrase used to end a letter or message, or the act of saying parting words whether brief or extensive. -- Wikipedia.
Charles Christopher Sheats, Born 10 April 1839, Walker County, Alabama. Died 27 May 1904, Morgan County, Alabama.
Charles Christopher Sheats, better known as Chris Sheats up in the hollows and hills of Winston County, was an absolutely brave, incorruptible, modest and principled man who voted against secession at the Alabama convention in 1861 and was beaten and jailed for his resistance so the planters could later claim that the vote was unanimous. The Confederate authorities wanted to hang him throughout the war on a variety of treason charges, only to be deterred by the Federal promise to hang a number of Copperhead leaders in retaliation if they did.
You can find the marker of his grave today in McKendree United Methodist Church Cemetery off of Alabama 157, near Battleground. I have visited that plot and always marvel at the simplicity of the valediction on the tombstone:
"I love my country, my God and my kind. I have served them all. I want no praise of song or prose."
Despised by many of his fellow Alabamians while he was alive, constantly threatened with death by the planter class before, during and after the Civil War, he remains today all but unknown to history but still beloved by the descendants of the yeoman farmer mountain Unionists. The truth of his simple valediction rings throughout the years to those of us who have studied his life struggle. One could do far worse for a valediction. Sometime next month, I think I'll go back and visit with Chris one more time.
As William Faulkner once wrote: “The past is never dead. It's not even past.”