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Confederate Memorial Day out of place in today’s Mississippi

Mississippi is officially recognizing Confederate Memorial Day today, with state offices closed in observance of the state holiday that commemorates those who died fighting in the Civil War.

Southern states including Mississippi fought to secede from the United States because of slavery, of course, and that fact leaves a bitter taste 152 years later.

Slavery has long since been abolished since the South lost that effort but the cold war continues more than a century and a half later over the symbols and heritage involved.

Take today’s state holiday as one example.

Some believe Mississippi should continue to openly honor its Civil War soldiers and heroes with Confederate Memorial Day because ancestors “fought, died and lost everything they had for a cause.”

Others believe that continuing to recognize Confederate Memorial Day, when 40 percent of Mississippi’s population today is African-American and the state’s participation in the Civil War was about maintaining “the social hierarchy of white supremacy,” is wrong and offensive.

We don’t deny that preservation of our heritage, and the lessons learned, are valuable. But times change, and so should how we study, commemorate and embrace our past.

By 2017, Mississippi has many heroes who have fought and lost everything they had for a cause. We should honor them all, reflecting the diverse and welcoming state that we strive to be.

Related article about the holiday: Mississippi, Alabama marking Confederate Memorial Day