Confederate Memorial Day Muted in Georgia

     (CN) – Confederate Memorial Day and the birthday of Confederate General Robert E. Lee have been stricken from Georgia’s official 2016 state holiday calendar.
     Most state employees will still get days off for both events, but in the wake of recent widespread debate over Confederate symbolism throughout the south, the names of both observances have been changed simply to “state holiday.”
     “There will be a state holiday on that day,” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, said. “Those so inclined can celebrate Confederate Memorial Day and remember those who died in that conflict.”
     The roots of Confederate Memorial Day go back to 1866, when the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus, Ga., passed a resolution to set aside one day annually to memorialize the southerners who died during the Civil War.
     In March 1866 the group sent a letter to its counterparts in other southern states, and the following month, on April 26, the first Confederate Memorial Day was observed.
     Later, each of the states of the old Confederacy adopted its own formal commemoration date, with Georgia’s becoming the last Monday in April.
     Strangely, Robert E. Lee’s birthday has traditionally been observed on Nov. 27, despite the fact the Virginian was actually born on Jan. 19, 1807.
     Georgia has come under fire for its unwillingness to part with Confederate symbols following June’s racially-charged mass shooting of nine black church members in Charleston, South Carolina.

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