In a move filled with more symbolism than actual substance, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has announced that Confederate Memorial Day and Gen. Robert E. Lee's birthday have been erased from the state's official 2016 holiday calendar, according to the American Journal-Constitution.
Both days were replaced with the more neutral term “state holiday,” according to emails to state employees last week, writes the news outlet.
But as a measure of how polarizing the debate over Confederate commemorations have become, a spokesman made clear that Georgians were free to pay tribute to soldiers who fought on behalf of the Confederacy on the more neutrally labeled state holidays.
On the 2015 state calendar, April 27 is listed as a Confederate holiday and Nov. 27 as Lee’s birthday, the report says.
In recent months, the use of Confederate symbols and holidays has come under fire in the aftermath of the June massacre of nine black churchgoers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., allegedly by a self-professed Confederate-flag-waving white supremacist.
Read more at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.