It’s enough that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a GOP darling, has revived the tradition of declaring April “Confederate History Month.” But what’s truly astonishing is that in bringing it back he dropped from the ceremonial proclamation a previous obligatory nod at, you know, slavery. As the Washington Post reports:
McDonnell said he did not include a reference to slavery because “there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia.”
Instead, McDonnell’s proclamation, issued Friday, cites “the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens.” Read the whole thing after the jump. The Republican governor delivered the GOP’s response to President Obama’s State of the Union address in January and has been considered a rising star. But some say he’s got his eye on surging state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who’s own recent contributions to history include trying to get sexual orientation removed from anti-bias codes at state universities and suing the federal government over the health insurance reform law. April 17 is the anniversary of Virginia’s secession from the union. No word yet on whether McDonnell or Cuccinelli plan to give it another go this spring. Full text of the proclamation:
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; and WHEREAS, Confederate historical sites such as the White House of the Confederacy are open for people to visit in Richmond today; and WHEREAS, all Virginians can appreciate the fact that when ultimately overwhelmed by the insurmountable numbers and resources of the Union Army, the surviving, imprisoned and injured Confederate soldiers gave their word and allegiance to the United States of America, and returned to their homes and families to rebuild their communities in peace, following the instruction of General Robert E. Lee of Virginia, who wrote that, “…all should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of war and to restore the blessings of peace.”; and WHEREAS, this defining chapter in Virginia’s history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians, both in the context of the time in which it took place, but also in the context of the time in which we live, and this study and remembrance takes on particular importance as the Commonwealth prepares to welcome the nation and the world to visit Virginia for the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Civil War, a four-year period in which the exploration of our history can benefit all; NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert McDonnell, do hereby recognize April 2010 as CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons.