Lee-Jackson Day History, Parades, News more than 100 years until 2021 Lee Jackson Day

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Posted : January 17, 2021

Lee–Jackson Day was a state holiday in the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia, commemorating Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

Its observation was eliminated in 2020, replaced by Election Day as a state holiday. The original holiday created in 1889 celebrated Lee’s birthday (January 19) until 1904, which brought the addition of Jackson’s name and birthday (January 21).

In 1983, the holiday was merged with the then-new federal holiday  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as Lee–Jackson–King Day in Virginia; the merger was reversed in 2000. Lee–Jackson Day was observed on Friday immediately preceding Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (the third Monday in January).

Typical events included a wreath-laying ceremony with military honors, a Civil War-themed parade, symposia, and a gala ball. State offices were closed for both holidays. During the 2010s, various Virginia municipalities chose not to observe Lee–Jackson Day, including Charlottesville, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Hampton, Newport News, Richmond, and Winchester. In 2017, the Town of Blacksburg decided to stop observing the day as well.

In early 2020 the newly Democratic Virginia General Assembly proposed ending the observance and designating Election Day as a replacement holiday. The Senate of Virginia voted in January to eliminate Lee–Jackson Day as a state holiday the legislation was passed a month later by the House of Delegates. Governor Ralph Northam approved the bill in March, to take effect in July, 2020.

A monument to Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, one of the honorees of the Lee Jackson Day, in Lexington, Va. The Sons of Confederate Veterans hold a Lee-Jackson Day parade in Lexington every year.

Lee-Jackson Day parade in Lexington every year. A monument to Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson in Lexington Virginia
Lee-Jackson Day parade in Lexington every year. A monument to Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson in Lexington Virginia
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