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Ga. Removes Confederate Holiday from Calendar

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Confederate Memorial Day and Robert E. Lee’s birthday will no longer live on Georgia’s official state holiday calendar, CNN reports.

The two holidays, celebrated on April 26 and January 19 respectively, were recently replaced with the term “state holiday.” The move comes in response to renewed opposition of the Confederate flag in the South.

A new list of holidays for 2016 reflects the change to “state holiday.”

An email sent to the Atlanta Journal Constitution from Gov. Nathan Deal’s spokesman Brian Robinson, said the state still intends to celebrate the holidays by closing the Capitol and state agency offices.

“There will be a state holiday on that day,” Robinson said. “Those so inclined can observe Confederate Memorial Day and remember those who died in that conflict.”

Confederate Memorial Day has a long history in Georgia. The holiday was meant to honor the day the Confederate forces surrendered to Gen. William T. Sherman ending the state’s Civil War on April 26, 1865, according to the state’s website.

Each year, Georgia’s governor must sign a proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month and April 26 Confederate Memorial Day. The same action must take place for Robert E. Lee’s birthday (Jan. 19). The state made his birthday, celebrated after Thanksgiving, an official holiday in 1889.

The proclamation also quotes Winston Churchill, who once said “Lee was the noblest American who ever lived and was one of the greatest commanders known to the annals of war.”