Alabamians share mixed opinions about Confederate Memorial Day

Some Alabamians said the state should stop recognizing the holiday, and others said it's important to remember all the lives lost in the Civil War.

Posted: Apr 26, 2021 6:41 PM
Updated: Apr 26, 2021 8:30 PM

State offices are closed in Alabama on the fourth Monday of April. That's in commemoration of Confederate Memorial Day.

Some Alabamians said the state should stop recognizing the holiday, and others said it's important to remember all the lives lost in the Civil War.

"The Civil War and the Confederacy were about slavery," said Camille Bennett, founder of Project Say Something.

Project Say Something is aimed at confronting racial injustice. Bennett said Confederate Memorial Day romanticizes the Civil War.

"People like to get tricky with the words and say it's about states' rights, but it was the states' rights to own enslaved Black people," said Bennett.

Others defend the holiday as a day of remembering fallen soldiers.

"The bottom line is those soldiers who fought and died," said John Scales.

Scales is a retired general. He said soldiers in the Civil War were protecting their homes, their families and those against an invading army.

Scales said the holiday isn't a racial matter. He said he sees it as a day to remember those who died in battle.

"Those numbers far outweigh any other war," said Scales.

Back in 2020, the Confederate monument in front of the Madison County Courthouse was removed. Currently, the monument lives at the Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville.

"It’s a slap in the face. You removed a Confederate monument because it was disrespectful and offensive in Huntsville," said Bennett. "On the other hand, it’s still taking a little dig in saying we’re still going to commemorate the Confederacy."

The state has no plans to eliminate Confederate Memorial Day as a holiday. Alabama is one of three states that still commemorate Confederate Memorial Day.

The holiday dates back to 1866. Georgia's legislature passed a resolution remembering those who died in the war.

"That’s the root cause," said Bennett. "People, legislatures, lawmakers, citizens in Alabama still think it’s appropriate to celebrate the Confederacy."

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