Just a quick update for those of you following the ongoing discussion in Richmond over whether to set aside a day to honor Abraham Lincoln. The original bill can be found here. There have been reports that the senate decided against the bill, but what follows is an update from Jeffry Burden, who is involved in the crafting of the legislation:
Per Sen. Marsh’s office: pressure was brought to bear over the last week on various Senators by the good folks at Mt. Vernon, who suggested that the bill be amended to provide another date for a paid “Lincoln Day”, which is not fiscally feasible (or that the bill designate a non-paid State holiday, which was also by law a complete non-starter).
However, Senate Joint Resolution 131 has been introduced in lieu of Senate Bill 43. It will establish February 12 as “Lincoln Day” in the Commonwealth. It does not go to the Governor for approval, so there’s no amendment or veto. Once agreed to by House and Senate, it will be up to Senator Marsh’s committee, the Lincoln Society of Virginia, and others to request that the Governor create the appropriate proclamation and urge appropriate commemorations.
You can read it here, but what follows are a few choice selections from the resolution:
WHEREAS, Abraham Lincoln’s roots run deep within the Commonwealth, and his great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents lived in Virginia; his parents met, married, and lived for a time in the Shenandoah Valley; his great-grandparents and multiple relatives are buried in Virginia in the Lincoln Cemetery at the Lincoln Family Homestead in Rockingham County; there are Lincoln descendants living in the Shenandoah Valley today. During the Civil War, Lincoln’s family in Virginia were slave owners and Confederates, and he visited several Virginia localities, including Petersburg and Richmond, the Confederate capital, in April 1865, just a few days prior to his death[.]
WHEREAS, at the dedication of the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln rededicated the nation to freedom and democracy, stating, “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” and the principles that he espoused remain a core part of the American value system[.]
And this just in…
HB 527 Establishes the Virginia Slave Commission in the legislative branch of state government for the purpose of addressing contemporary political, economic, educational, and societal issues and public policies whose roots lie in the transatlantic slave trade.
The Commission, among other things, must (i) identify the vestiges and assess the effects of the transatlantic slave trade on African Americans, the Commonwealth, and modern societal problems and public policies, (ii) explore and showcase the contributions of African Americans in building Virginia and the nation, (iii) determine the educational and economic value to the Commonwealth of preserving sites and facilities of historic and archaeological significance to African American culture and contributions, and (iv) recommend feasible and appropriate options to resolve lingering societal problems whose roots lie in slavery. Patron Del. McQuinn.
I’ve said it before, this is not your grandfather’s Civil War commemoration.