As of this evening my old home of Charlottesville, Virginia no longer celebrates Lee-Jackson Day. The city joins other communities throughout the Commonwealth that no longer publicly acknowledge this holiday.
The vote is not so much a declaration that Lee and Jackson no longer deserve the kind of reverence they once received, but a confirmation that the community crossed this line at some point in the past. Representatives of the city’s chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans had every opportunity to voice their displeasure and chose not to do so. This paid city holiday will likely be rolled into one honoring all veterans. That leaves room for those who wish to single out Lee and Jackson or anyone else for that matter.
Looks like Susan Hathaway of the Virginia Flaggers attended tonight’s meeting to make a last-minute plea.
We should celebrate a city that allows people from outside the community to voice their opinion. It is unlikely that city councilors gave much thought to Hathaway and the other members of the group who attended the previous meeting. The group plans to find private property to raise one of their flags as a snub to the community. That is their right. It’s nothing more than an indication that their message has once again failed.
The only question that remains unanswered is whether cities like Charlottesville can find productive ways for members of the community to engage one another around such sensitive questions of how their collective past ought to be remembered.