Last Updated on February 7, 2020
A bill to abolish Lee-Jackson Day, a holiday commemorating Confederate war heroes Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, both native sons of Virginia, has now passed both chambers of the Commonwealth’s newly-blue legislature and is expected to be signed upon arrival to Governor Northam’s desk.
The holiday will be replaced on the state’s calendar with Election Day.
Generals Lee and Jackson were once held up by leaders on both sides of the aisle as classic Virginia Gentlemen who served the United States, Confederate States, and most importantly, Virginia, with gallantry.
In 1861, as Virginia seceded from the Union, the two men were forced to make a gut-wrenching decision – whether to side the Union, whose armies they’d spent a lifetime serving, or side with Virginia, their ancestral home.
Both men chose Virginia. The decision led Jackson to his grave and led Lee, four years later, to Appomattox, where he surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the War Between the States.
After the war, Lee was disenfranchised, stripped of his citizenship, and saw the Custis-Lee Mansion, his pre-war home, confiscated by the US government and turned into Arlington National Cemetary.
Since 1899, the Commonwealth has commemorated the Generals with a January holiday; beginning with Lee and adding Jackson five years later in 1904.
It wasn’t until recently, as symbols of the Confederacy have become a lightning rod for the left’s identity politic agenda, that the holiday’s existence has become a hot button partisan issue.
A number of municipalities have chosen to stop observing the holiday, most notably Fairfax, Charlottesville, and Richmond.
The abolition of Lee-Jackson Day has been advocated for by a number of left-wing groups, including the ACLU. “This is a symbolic victory for racial justice and voting rights in Virginia,” the Virginia branch of the ACLU said in a tweet.
With the House's vote, this legislation has passed both chambers. This is a symbolic victory for racial justice and voting rights in Virginia, especially during Black History Month.
— ACLU of Virginia (@ACLUVA) February 6, 2020
The Hamas-linked Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), also celebrated the vote, with National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper saying members of the group “hope this means Virginia will remove one more artifact of the Confederacy and white supremacy,” presumably in reference to the left’s ongoing fight to tear down Confederate statues across the south – a fight in which CAIR has linked arms with the Democratic Party.
Ironically, while supporting the abolition of Lee-Jackson Day, CAIR has advocated nationwide for the addition of Islamic holidays to school and municipal calendars.