April 26 – Confederate Memorial Day

Posted on April 26, 2017

Did you know that several states celebrate Confederate Memorial Day? 

In Texas, it's called Confederate Heroes' Day, and it's celebrated in January.

In Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi, it's a public holiday celebrated near the end of April or the beginning of May. Georgia used to celebrate it, too, but last year it dropped the name "Confederate Memorial Day," moved it to the closest Monday, and called it "State Holiday."

The reason for this timing of this holiday is that April 26, 1865, was the surrender of the last major filed army at Bennett Place, North Carolina.

This holiday has been celebrated in many Southern states since the first-year anniversary of the Civil War's end, in 1866. It is a chance for Southern folks to honor the more than 258,000 men who died "in the line of duty" in the various branches of the Confederate armed forces.

As much as I shudder at the sight of the Confederate flag, knowing how closely associated it is with murders - including lynchings - of African American people...

As much as I recognize that the secession from the Union was probably illegal, and that the Confederate soldiers have been seen as "rebels" fighting for an unjust cause...

I am also saddened by all the needless deaths of all those men, many of them young and strong; all of them, surely, loving toward their families and beloved by their families; most of them courageous and also afraid, proud and also miserable, principled and also flawed.

And I realize that, if you and I had been born white, in the South, in 1840-something, we too would probably have been on the wrong side of history, believing with all our hearts in the Confederate cause.

THAT makes me shudder, too!

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