WASHINGTON — On the first Lee-Jackson Day since the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, a Loudoun County leader said the date has little meaning to today’s Virginia residents.
The unique Virginia holiday, celebrated on Friday, honors Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson
“I think if you went on the street and ask 10 people what today was, with the exception of some state employees who get the day off, most people would have no idea,” Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall told WTOP.
In 1904, Virginia’s General Assembly designated Lee-Jackson Day as a state holiday.
“I think it’s probably appropriate to have a military wreath laying at the cemetery, which is what they do. But I got to tell you, I think this holiday for most people is about as impactful as Groundhog Day,” Randall said.
Most local jurisdictions in Northern Virginia do not observe the holiday.
“On Veterans Day, we don’t let kids out of school because veterans themselves have asked us to have discussions about the contributions and the importance of veterans in the schools,” said Randall.
Randall, who is the first black woman ever elected to the county’s board, said it is important to discuss Virginia’s history, honestly.
“If we’re going to have this be a state holiday, we should talk openly about what the Confederacy was and teach that in our schools,” Randall said. “It’s a good catalyst to have discussions about race relations as they stand, today.”
This is not the first time Randall has waded into the heated discussion as Virginia reflects upon its Confederate past.
In September, the Board of Supervisors defeated a motion by Randall that would have requested Virginia’s General Assembly to amend state law to give the county discretion to move or remove the statue of a Confederate soldier that stands in front of the county courthouse in Leesburg.
A bill introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates would give cities and counties authority to remove or alter such monuments. House Minority Leader David Toscano, who represents Charlottesville, filed the bill this week.