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Confederate Memorial Day in the United States

Confederate Memorial Day is a state holiday in some states in the United States. It gives people a chance to honor and remember the Confederate soldiers who died or were wounded during the American Civil War during the 1860s.

Is Confederate Memorial Day a Public Holiday?

Confederate Memorial Day is a public holiday in some areas (see list below), where it is a day off and schools and most businesses are closed. In other areas, Confederate Memorial Day is a normal working day.

US Confederate soldiers' cemetery at Appomattox Courthouse national park in Virginia.

©bigstockphoto.com/BackyardProductions

Observe Confederate Memorial Day

A range of events are organized on and around Confederate Memorial Day. The Main Library of the University of Georgia marks the occasion by publicly displaying the original Constitution of the Confederate States of America.

Other observances include:

  • Ceremonies to place flags and wreaths on the graves of Confederate soldiers and memorials to them.
  • Church services.
  • Re-enactments (in historical costume) of battles and events from the Civil War.
  • Displays of Civil War relics.

However, this type of observance is controversial, as some see it as glorifying a culture and way of life that could only exist because of the work carried out by slaves.

Public Life

Confederate Memorial Day is a state holiday in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia on the fourth Monday in April. In Mississippi it is observed on the last Monday in April. In South Carolina and North Carolina it falls on May 10.

Confederate Memorial Day is known as Confederate Heroes Day in Texas. It is held on January 19 each year. Only one day off is given to workers if it coincides with Martin Luther King Day.

In these areas, state offices are generally closed. However, Confederate Memorial Day is not a federal holiday and federal offices may be open. Some schools in states like Georgia are also open. Stores and other businesses may be open or closed according to local custom. Public transit services may operate to their normal or reduced schedules. There may be some minor road closures or congestion around war memorials or important battlegrounds.

About Confederate Memorial Day

Between 1861 and 1865, there was a war between the Union and the Confederate States of America. As slavery disappeared from the northern states, but remained viable in the south, two very different ways of life arose in these sections, according to the US Department of the Interior’s National Park Service. Compromises regarding slavery, especially its extension to the new western territories, became more difficult to achieve. Social, political and economic power was at stake for both the north and the south.

The divisions began in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln, who opposed the expansion of slavery, was elected as president of the United States. Seven states in the south declared their secession from the United States before he took office. Southern states maintained various concerns regarding political ideals, property and homes, protection for their families, and economic loss.

The actual war started on April 12, 1861, at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The last cease-fire was signed at Fort Towson, Oklahoma, on June 23, 1865, although the naval forces on the CSS Shenandoah did not surrender until November 4, 1865 in Liverpool, Great Britain. It is estimated that more than 600,000 soldiers died during the American Civil War and that about 260,000 of these were Confederates. In addition, an unknown number of civilians died in the hostilities.

Those who died fighting for the Confederate States during the American Civil War are remembered on other dates in some states. In Arkansas and Texas, there are joint celebrations of the birthdays of Robert E. Lee (a general in the Confederate army) and Martin Luther King on the third Monday in January. In Texas, this is sometimes known as Confederate Heroes Day. In Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee, the birthday of Jefferson Davis (the only President of the Confederate States of America) on June 3, 1808, is observed.

In North and South Carolina, May 10 marks the anniversaries of the death of Thomas Jonathan 'Stonewall' Jackson (a general in the Confederate army) in 1863 and the capture of Jefferson Davis in 1865. In Pennsylvania, the organization known as the Sons of Confederate Veterans commemorates those who died while fighting for the Confederates.  In Virginia, the lives of Confederate soldiers are honored on Memorial Day on the last Monday in May. Confederate Memorial Day was first observed in a number of areas in or just after 1866.

Confederate Memorial Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010TueJan 19Confederate Heroes DayState holidayTexas
2010MonApr 26Confederate Memorial DayState holidayAlabama
2010MonApr 26Confederate Memorial DayState holidayMississippi
2010MonApr 26Confederate Heroes DayLocal observanceFlorida
2010MonApr 26Confederate Heroes DayState holidayGeorgia
2010MonMay 10Confederate Memorial DayState holidayNorth Carolina, South Carolina
2011WedJan 19Confederate Heroes DayState holidayTexas
2011MonApr 25Confederate Memorial DayState holidayMississippi
2011MonApr 25Confederate Memorial DayState holidayAlabama
2011MonApr 25Confederate Heroes DayState holidayGeorgia
2011TueApr 26Confederate Heroes DayLocal observanceFlorida
2011TueMay 10Confederate Memorial DayState holidayNorth Carolina, South Carolina
2012ThuJan 19Confederate Heroes DayState holidayTexas
2012MonApr 23Confederate Memorial DayState holidayAlabama
2012MonApr 23Confederate Heroes DayState holidayGeorgia
2012ThuApr 26Confederate Heroes DayLocal observanceFlorida
2012MonApr 30Confederate Memorial DayState holidayMississippi
2012ThuMay 10Confederate Memorial DayState holidayNorth Carolina, South Carolina
2013SatJan 19Confederate Heroes DayState holidayTexas
2013MonApr 22Confederate Memorial DayState holidayAlabama
2013MonApr 22Confederate Heroes DayState holidayGeorgia
2013FriApr 26Confederate Heroes DayLocal observanceFlorida
2013MonApr 29Confederate Memorial DayState holidayMississippi
2013FriMay 10Confederate Memorial DayState holidayNorth Carolina, South Carolina
2014SunJan 19Confederate Heroes DayState holidayTexas
2014SatApr 26Confederate Heroes DayLocal observanceFlorida
2014MonApr 28Confederate Memorial DayState holidayMississippi
2014MonApr 28Confederate Memorial DayState holidayAlabama
2014MonApr 28Confederate Heroes DayState holidayGeorgia
2014FriMay 9Confederate Memorial Day observedState holidaySouth Carolina
2014SatMay 10Confederate Memorial DayLocal observanceNorth Carolina
2014SatMay 10Confederate Memorial DayState holidaySouth Carolina
2015MonJan 19Confederate Heroes DayState holidayTexas
2015SunApr 26Confederate Heroes DayLocal observanceFlorida
2015MonApr 27Confederate Memorial DayState holidayAlabama
2015MonApr 27Confederate Memorial DayState holidayMississippi
2015MonApr 27Confederate Heroes DayState holidayGeorgia
2015MonApr 27Confederate Heroes Day observedLocal observanceFlorida
2015SunMay 10Confederate Memorial DayState holidaySouth Carolina
2015SunMay 10Confederate Memorial DayLocal observanceNorth Carolina
2015MonMay 11Confederate Memorial Day observedState holidaySouth Carolina
2016TueJan 19Confederate Heroes DayState holidayTexas
2016MonApr 25Confederate Memorial DayState holidayMississippi
2016MonApr 25Confederate Memorial DayState holidayAlabama
2016MonApr 25State HolidayState holidayGeorgia
2016TueApr 26Confederate Heroes DayLocal observanceFlorida
2016TueMay 10Confederate Memorial DayState holidaySouth Carolina
2016TueMay 10Confederate Memorial DayLocal observanceNorth Carolina
2017ThuJan 19Confederate Heroes DayState holidayTexas
2017MonApr 24Confederate Memorial DayState holidayAlabama
2017MonApr 24Confederate Memorial DayState holidayMississippi
2017MonApr 24State HolidayState holidayGeorgia
2017WedApr 26Confederate Heroes DayLocal observanceFlorida
2017WedMay 10Confederate Memorial DayLocal observanceNorth Carolina
2017WedMay 10Confederate Memorial DayState holidaySouth Carolina
2018FriJan 19Confederate Heroes DayState holidayTexas
2018MonApr 23Confederate Memorial DayState holidayAlabama
2018MonApr 23State HolidayState holidayGeorgia
2018ThuApr 26Confederate Heroes DayLocal observanceFlorida
2018MonApr 30Confederate Memorial DayState holidayMississippi
2018ThuMay 10Confederate Memorial DayLocal observanceNorth Carolina
2018ThuMay 10Confederate Memorial DayState holidaySouth Carolina
2019SatJan 19Confederate Heroes DayState holidayTexas
2019MonApr 22Confederate Memorial DayState holidayAlabama
2019MonApr 22State HolidayState holidayGeorgia
2019FriApr 26Confederate Heroes DayLocal observanceFlorida
2019MonApr 29Confederate Memorial DayState holidayMississippi
2019FriMay 10Confederate Memorial DayState holidaySouth Carolina
2019FriMay 10Confederate Memorial DayLocal observanceNorth Carolina
2020SunJan 19Confederate Heroes DayState holidayTexas
2020SunApr 26Confederate Heroes DayLocal observanceFlorida
2020MonApr 27Confederate Memorial DayState holidayMississippi
2020MonApr 27Confederate Memorial DayState holidayAlabama
2020MonApr 27Confederate Heroes Day observedLocal observanceFlorida
2020MonApr 27State HolidayState holidayGeorgia
2020SunMay 10Confederate Memorial DayLocal observanceNorth Carolina
2020SunMay 10Confederate Memorial DayState holidaySouth Carolina
2020MonMay 11Confederate Memorial Day observedState holidaySouth Carolina

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