Bud Kennedy

Austin teen backs changing state Confederate holiday; Rebs getting riled

Shelby Little of Georgetown wears an early Confederate Uniform in front of the Confederate Monument at the Texas State Capitol on Confederate Heroes Day in 2011. His great-grandfather fought for the Confederacy in Alabama.
Shelby Little of Georgetown wears an early Confederate Uniform in front of the Confederate Monument at the Texas State Capitol on Confederate Heroes Day in 2011. His great-grandfather fought for the Confederacy in Alabama. The Dallas Morning News

Texas devotes a state holiday to celebrating our Confederate secession and rebellion.

Now, an Austin 13-year-old and his Texas House lawmaker are asking why.

“Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the recognition of Confederate leaders as ‘heroes,’” eighth-grader Jacob Hale wrote in support of a bill to create a “Civil War Remembrance Day” in May to replace Confederate Heroes Day (Jan. 19).

“I don’t think it takes anything away from Confederate veterans to honor all Texans in the war,” he said Tuesday.

Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, said her bill would also end the overlap with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“We want to honor all participants properly on a day without any conflicts,” she said.

But in Parker County, David Moore of the state Sons of Confederate Veterans sees conflict.

“It’s about being PC [politically correct] — it stinks,” he said: “It’s the Confederates’ holiday now, and that’s the way it should be.”

That’s Jacob’s point: Texans shouldn’t finance the special-interest holiday passed in 1931 as Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Birthday and revised in 1973 to include Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Neither is from Texas.

Howard envisions a shared neutral day, but a Sons of Union Veterans official wasn’t sure.

“We stick with Memorial Day, because the Union Army is who it was started for,” said David B. Appleton of Fort Worth, adding, “but I hope nobody still has any hard feelings.”

After all, it’s been only 150 years.

Bud Kennedy’s column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538

Twitter: @BudKennedy

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