Amid the historical revisionism that has seen highways renamed, national monuments threatened with destruction, and the names of sports teams driving debate around the country, the flag of the Confederacy has been removed from state buildings as a backlash against the symbol of the “Old South.”

The push to remove all symbols of the failed Confederacy gained momentum following last June’s mass shooting when a white man killed nine African-Americans in a historically black church in South Carolina.

Although the Mississippi state legislature considered over a dozen bills that would have altered the state’s flag by removing the “stars and bars” associated with the Confederacy during the Civil War, members were unable to agree on a replacement.

Five other southern states have the emblem on their flag, which many consider to be inherently racist and a symbol of the slavery and oppression that existed in the south both before and even after the “War Between the States.”

Now Gov. Phil Bryant has taken a step in defense of tradition by proclaiming April “Confederate Heritage Month.”

The Governor, who won over 66 percent of the vote for a second term in 2015, also set aside the last Monday of the month, April 25, as “Confederate Memorial Day” to honor those who served during the war as the nation, less than a century old at the time, grappled with questions of slavery, federalism and unity.

Gov. Bryant’s proclamation stated, “It is important for all Americans to reflect upon our nation’s past to gain insight from our mistakes and successes,” adding that we must “earnestly strive to understand and appreciate our heritage and our opportunities which lie before us.”

The proclamation also noted that April is the appropriate time for the commemoration because war was officially declared on April 12, 1861 and ended when Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on April 8, 1865.

Bryant has said that any decision about the flag should be made by a vote by the citizens of Mississippi.

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