State holiday doesn't come without controversy - - Jackson, MS

State holiday doesn't come without controversy

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Most state government buildings in the Magnolia State were locked up Monday morning thanks to a state law known as Confederate Memorial Day.

"Everybody thinks this holiday is something that it wasn't," said Mississippi Sons of Confederate Veterans member Jim Baker.

The holiday was designed to honor and remember the Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War. It's observed in several Southern states and been a part of Mississippi for decades. Baker says the war wasn't just about slavery, but rather patriotism and should be honored as Mississippi's past.

"They were fighting an honorable cause. They were not rebels, they were Southern patriots," said Baker. 

Not everyone feels that. In the past, the state NAACP has called the holiday an affront to the state's African American population. Folks even took to Facebook regarding whether the holiday should be observed.

"No, look at what they were actually fighting for during the war," wrote one person. "Times are different and need to change."

Mississippi lawmakers did try to make one change. During the legislative session, the House voted to make the holiday two-in-one, by making it Civil Rights Memorial Day as well. That measure never even made it out of a Senate committee.

Baker says even if that happens, it may do no good.

"What's the sense of enjoying your holiday if you got to sit around and grumble about the other folks having one to," said Baker.

Meanwhile, state government buildings will continue to be locked up as Mississippians continue to debate the state's history and whether the holiday should be locked up as well.

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