Did you know Confederate Memorial Day is still a state holiday?
Apr 24, 2012
ATLANTA — If you tried to do business with a state agency on Monday, you were out of luck.
That is, unless you wanted to park for free in the state capitol parking deck, which was wide open and unmanned.
Most state workers had the day off because it was a Georgia government holiday, Confederate Memorial Day.
The official date isn’t until Thursday, April 26, but the state observes it on a Monday to provide employees with a three day weekend.
Confederate Memorial Day was first declared an official Georgia holiday in 1874 and has been observed ever since.
Six other southern states also celebrate it: Florida and Alabama (April 23), Mississippi (April 30), North and South Carolina (May 10) and Texas (January 19).
The holiday was set aside to remember those who died fighting for the Confederacy, many of whom are buried in several local cemeteries.
Supporters say it’s a way to honor the memory and sacrifice of their ancestors.
"Learn your history; learn the history of this country, of the southland; learn the history of all ethnic people of all backgrounds," said Calvin Johnson, Jr. of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Others would just as soon forget the memory of those whose government declared an armed rebellion and enslaved other human beings against their will.
"I think it’s unfortunate; it’s not a day I would celebrate knowing the history of the Confederacy," said State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta).
Unlike the political battle a decade ago over changing Georgia’s state flag, Sen. Fort says there’s no movement to change or even do away with Confederate Memorial Day.
After 110 years as a statutory holiday, it was technically dropped from the state’s official list by the state legislature in 1984.
But the law still allows the governor to proclaim it by executive order, which has been done every year since then.
We wanted to talk to Gov. Nathan Deal about the holiday on Monday, but his office was closed.
In 2009, the state legislature officially designated April as Confederate History and Heritage Month.
Copyright ©2012 WXIA-TV Atlanta, Pacific and Southern Company, Inc