Today is a holiday, but there’s no need to check your calendars to see if you missed it because it’s only celebrated in one U.S. state.
It's Lee–Jackson Day, which is celebrated solely in Virginia to mark the birthdays of Virginia natives Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, who served as Confederate generals in the Civil War. Lee led military and naval forces during the Civil War until he surrendered to General Ulysses Grant in 1865, marking the war's end. Jackson's greatest victory was when he led his troops around the Union right flank at Chancellorsville to route the 11th Corps and mortally wounded, died eight days later on May 10, 1863.
The original holiday created in 1889 only celebrated Lee's birthday; in 1904, Jackson's name was added. In 1983, the holiday oddly was merged with a new federal holiday to celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. And, in Virginia only, from 1984-2000, it was Lee-Jackson-King Day. The merge was reversed after a debate on whether celebrating the lives of Confederate generals and a civil rights leader was inconsistent.
Yes, it does seem odd that it took so long to figure that out. But, then some areas of the South have never adjusted to fact that their side lost the Civil War.
The two holidays are celebrated separately. Lee–Jackson Day is observed on the Friday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which is January 19 this year; it's always the third Monday in January. Virginia state offices are closed for both holidays, yet many schools and businesses remain open.
Virginia is not alone in having a state holiday for anyone associated with the unsuccessful Southern rebellion. The birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis is marked as a state holiday in Mississippi. (Davis was born in Kentucky, but raised in Mississippi.)
When we first moved to Virginia 15 years ago, this unique observance was an oddity to us “northerners.” The day was memorable to us not for reasons noted herein, but because it was the day we closed on The Frog & Penguinn, our "new" home. And, it continues to be remembered solely for that reason. The concept of celebrating men whose legacy involved fighting on the side of a nation founded to expand human bondage seems very strange, even more so today.