"Virginia Gov. McDonnell proclaims April ‘Confederate History Month.’"
The Washington Post reports today that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has issued a proclamation that “quietly declared April 2010 Confederate History Month, bringing back a designation in Virginia that his two Democratic predecessors — Mark Warner and Tim Kaine — refused to do.” According to the Lynchburg News and Advance, McDonnell’s proclamation “comes in advance of an upcoming anniversary — it was on April 17, 1861 that Virginia seceded from the union.” The proclamation makes no mention of slavery, but does call on Virginians “to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present“:
WHEREAS, April is the month in which the people of Virginia joined the Confederate States of America in a four year war between the states for independence that concluded at Appomattox Courthouse; and
WHEREAS, Virginia has long recognized her Confederate history, the numerous civil war battlefields that mark every region of the state, the leaders and individuals in the Army, Navy and at home who fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth in a time very different than ours today; and
WHEREAS, it is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth’s shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present;
The Post notes that “Republican governors George Allen and Jim Gilmore made similar proclamations. But in 2002, Warner broke with their action, calling such proclamations a ‘lightning rod’ that does not help bridge divisions between whites and blacks in Virginia.”