Confederate Memorial Day is a state holiday in most of what one considers the South. Most people from outside the south do not know of it. When I first read about it, as a child, I thought why the duplication, there was the national day. There are many southern negroes under forty years of age, that are not aware of it, now. Many black americans are surprised and shocked, when they encounter its existence. Many are insulted, angered and want it ended. Human charity demands that people be allowed to mourn.
It was a precursor to a general Memorial Day. It was meant to remember and honor the fallen of the 1861-5 war, the most traumatic event in the history of this land, and the most significant. It is the only lost cause that is of the US.
As George Patton (or George C. Scott, it is the same to the country) is to have remarked*, this country only has respect for winners. It (CMD) is, thereby, remarkable for its existence. Other than the Indian Wars, this land has not known war since. The United States wars, and is damn proud of it, but those wars are on some one else’s land. With the failed War of Southern Secession, americans experienced real war, not a vicarious, hidden war of expedition.
When the southern textbooks referred to the war as the ‘War of Northern Aggression’, they were not meaning to be coolly objective. They wrote with pained, humiliated resentment; they did not lie. A more neutral, and ambiguous term ‘War Between the States’ is better and far more accurate than ‘Civil War’. The rejoinder, “there was nothing civil about it”, is true. In a political sense, it was a civil war, only, in some communities in border areas. Massachusetts was on one side, Mississippi on the other.
The South, the secessionists, lost. The feelings of the vanquished were similar to the central powers (germans, turks, magyars, bulgarians), whom lost the First World War and to the losers in many another war. Pride in the action of existence was a psychological bulwark. We fought therefore, we who survive, we exist. Bello ergo sum.
From this many corollaries are. The current military is more revered, than, the country as a whole. A ‘south will rise again’ attitude lingered and has manifested itself; it still can be discerned.
Where it is observed, it is usually a separate state holiday. It is not on a common date. A couple states move it to a Monday. Three different dates are commemorated. 26 April was Johnston’s surrender to Sherman. Jefferson Davis’s birthday is the 3rd of June. 10 May is the death of Thomas Jackson and the capture of Davis. In addition, some states have a separate Davis Day, and a Lee birthday (19 January). The only one, of these states, to have a Lincoln birthday is his birth state, Kentucky.
The Lincoln item is further interesting. Kentucky recognises Franklin Roosevelt’s birthday (30 April). Most of the south is solidly Republican, it does not recognise the greatest Republican, who was, also, the first Republican president and the only good one.
*Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. ― Speech to the Third Army. 5 June 1944.
noto bene: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is the junior senator from Alabama.