HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Monday, April 26 is Confederate Memorial Day, a state-recognized holiday, meaning state offices and courts are closed in honor of it.
Alabama is one of only a few states that have an official holiday recognizing the 250,000 Confederate Soldiers who lost their lives. Carl Jones, the past Alabama Division Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans says it sparked our nationally recognized Memorial Day.
“Confederate Memorial Day was actually the predecessor to the current United States Memorial Day that we all celebrate in May, or I shouldn’t say celebrate, but recognize,” he said.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans organization works to preserve the history of those who fought for the southern states in the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865.
“They went to war for four long years to uphold those very American traditions of the right to self-government… every philosophy and principle that America was initially founded on was fought for by the Southern soldier,” said Jones. “Many of those men did not return. Hundreds of thousands of them were never seen again.”
Many unknown soldiers are buried at Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville. Gravestones surround the confederate monument that once stood outside the Madison County Courthouse.
The confederate memorial holiday dates back to just one year after the war in Georgia. “A lot of southern ladies began going out and caring for the graves of the soldiers from their community and who, most of which, were their husbands, sons, brothers,” said Jones.
He hopes the state of Alabama continues honoring those men.
Jones has a long line of military veterans in his family and says when someone fights to protect their family and their community, they should continue to be remembered.
“I’m a veteran of the military myself and I’ve got a family full of veterans in every branch,” he added. “We cover all of them. My military history goes back to my 30th great great great great, multi-great grandfathers who served in the American Revolution. I do not want any of these men to be forgotten.”
The holiday is observed in late April to mark the surrender of the last major Confederate Field Army on April 26, 1865.
As reported by AL.com, Alabama has three Confederate-related holidays: Robert E. Lee’s birthday on the third Monday in January (celebrated along with the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King); Confederate Memorial Day on the fourth Monday in April; and the birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis on the first Monday in June.