CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Government employees in South Carolina had the day off Wednesday, and the reason behind it is stirring controversy nationwide.
May 10 is recognized as Confederate Memorial Day in both the Carolinas; although South Carolina still upholds it as a government holiday.
The day is now only officially observed in 6 states: South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.
“If you have grandparents born in South Carolina you probably have Confederate veterans and your family somewhere,” said Leland Summers, commander for the South Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans.
“Our message is plain and simple: the confederate soldier will never be forgotten,” he added.
But not everyone sees it that way.
Some are trying to get rid of the holiday altogether, including the Mississippi Rising coalition, whose president Lea Campbell stated:
"I'm troubled that in a state made up of 40% people of color, our leadership continues to openly sanction the use of taxpayer funds to endorse a neo-Confederate agenda.
It is time to move forward. We can be proud Southerners and honor our heritage and the sacrifices made by our ancestors without use of taxpayer funds to promote a racially unjust agenda."
But Sons of Confederate veterans members maintain confederate memorabilia has nothing to do with race, and even equated getting rid of the holiday with abolishing American Memorial Day.
“Confederate veterans are in fact American veterans,” Summers said. “They deserve the same commemoration and dedication has any veteran does.”
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