State employees in Mississippi have today off to observe Confederate Memorial Day. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, there are differing opinions on whether the day should be a state holiday.
Confederate Memorial Day was established after the Civil War to remember the hundreds of thousands soldiers who died fighting for the South. Ross Aldridge is a member of the Dixie Alliance, a group that focuses on the south and southern culture. He says this day is not about race, but rather honoring those who died during the conflict from 1861 to 1865.
"If somebody's going to fight and die for what they believe in, let's care about it. Whether it's your forefathers or somebody else. It all happened on this continent. That's worth caring for."
Frank Figgers is the Vice Chairman of the Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement. He says he doesn't agree with the holiday because the war was deeply rooted in the enslavement of Africans to work for free.
"Memorializing confederates is like memorializing people who committed open treason. Then they didn't win. They lost the war."
Only a hand full of southern states, including Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, continue to observe Confederate Memorial Day.