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Lee Jackson Day in the United States

Lee-Jackson Day is a state holiday in Virginia, the United States, to remember two of the Civil War's Confederate leaders – Robert E Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. It is annually celebrated on the Friday before Martin Luther King Day.

The Virginia Memorial at the Gettysburg National Battlefield features General Robert E Lee mounted on his horse "Traveller".
The Virginia Memorial at the Gettysburg National Battlefield features General Robert E Lee mounted on his horse "Traveller".
©iStockphoto.com/drnadig

What Do People Do?

Lee-Jackson Day is part of a four-day weekend for many people in Virginia, as the following Monday is Martin Luther King Day. The long weekend gives people the chance to catch up with family and friends, go on short breaks, or rest and unwind from work or studies. The day’s theme is a controversial topic of debate among some groups.

Lee-Jackson Day is also a full day of celebration in some cities in Virginia including Lexington City. Those living in Lexington City take part in activities such as:

  • Parades.
  • Re-enactments.
  • Period music.
  • Special guest speakers.
  • Memorial services.
  • A luncheon.

Some people visit Robert E Lee’s and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s final home and resting places on this day.

Public Life

Lee-Jackson Day is a state holiday in Virginia so state offices are closed. Many schools and businesses (eg. stores) are open. Those planning on travelling in the state will need to check with their local transport authorities on possible amendments to public transport timetables on this day.

Background

Lee-Jackson Day honors Confederate leaders Robert Edward Lee (1807-1870) and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson (1824-1863). General Lee led the military and naval forces during the Civil War until he surrendered to General Ulysses Grant in 1865, which marked the end of the war. Thomas Jackson's greatest victory was when he led his troops around the Union right flank at Chancellorsville to route the 11th Corps. However, he was wounded and died eight days later on May 10, 1863.

Virginia began observing Lee's birthday on January 19 in 1889. Jackson's remembrance was added to the holiday in 1904. Martin Luther King Day became a federal holiday on January 15 in 1983, which was close to Lee-Jackson Day. The days were combined in Virginia (known then as Lee-Jackson-King Day) until 2000 when they became separate holidays. It was arranged so that Lee-Jackson Day was to be held on the Friday before Martin Luther King Day.

Symbols

Various monuments and memorials are dedicated to Robert E Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. However, one of the most famous monuments to General Lee, a 60-foot (18-meter) statue of his likeness in New Orleans, was removed in 2017. West Virginia’s Stonewall Jackson State Park is named after Jackson. Both Lee and Jackson have been characterized in novels, television series, movies, and comic books.

Lee Jackson Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
FriJan 152010Lee Jackson DayState holidayVirginia
FriJan 142011Lee Jackson DayState holidayVirginia
FriJan 132012Lee Jackson DayState holidayVirginia
FriJan 182013Lee Jackson DayState holidayVirginia
FriJan 172014Lee Jackson DayState holidayVirginia
FriJan 162015Lee Jackson DayState holidayVirginia
FriJan 152016Lee Jackson DayState holidayVirginia
FriJan 132017Lee Jackson DayState holidayVirginia
FriJan 122018Lee Jackson DayState holidayVirginia
FriJan 182019Lee Jackson DayState holidayVirginia
FriJan 172020Lee Jackson DayState holidayVirginia

Quick Facts

Lee-Jackson Day is an annual state holiday in Virginia, the United States, on the Friday before Martin Luther King Day in January.

Lee Jackson Day 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018 (local in Virginia)

Lee Jackson Day 2019

Friday, January 18, 2019 (local in Virginia)

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Name in other languages

NameLanguage
Lee Jackson DayEnglish
Día de Lee JacksonSpanish
לי ג'קסון היוםHebrew
لي جاكسون يومArabic
리 잭슨의 날Korean
Lee Jacksons dagNorwegian
Lee-Jackson-TagGerman

List of dates for other years

Related holidays

  • Confederate Memorial Day – Friday, January 19, 2018, Monday, April 23, 2018, Thursday, April 26, 2018, Monday, April 30, 2018, Thursday, May 10, 2018
  • Jefferson Davis Birthday – Monday, May 28, 2018, Sunday, June 3, 2018, Monday, June 4, 2018
  • State Holiday – Monday, January 15, 2018, Friday, January 19, 2018, Friday, November 23, 2018

Other holidays in January 2019 in the United States

Fun Holiday on January 12, 2019

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