It’s Memorial Day for Morons.
April 26 was originally proposed as a day of remembrance by a Mrs. Charles Williams of Columbus, Georgia, who wrote a letter in 1866 that appeared in newspapers across the South asking women to pay tribute to the men who died on behalf of the Lost Cause. “We beg the assistance of the press and the ladies throughout the South,” Williams wrote, “to aid us in the effort to set apart a certain day to be observed from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, and to be handed down through time as a religious custom of the South, to wreathe the graves of our martyred dead with flowers, and we propose the 26th day of April as the day.”
Now it’s all about the dolla dolla bills, y’all:
[Col. Rusty Henderson of the Georgia Civil War Commission] said the state has so much to offer to bring in tourists interested in the Civil War History that it can’t ignore the opportunity to help further economic development in the state.
“We’re working with the economic and tourism authority to come up with an overall marketing plan for the state,” said Henderson.
This year has so far been a year of celebration for those interested in the state’s history and participation in the Civil War as January 19 was also celebrated the 200th birthday of General Robert E. Lee.
“For Georgia it’s a very good opportunity to promote tourism and history in the state,” said Henderson at the time of the Robert E. Lee Birthday celebration.
But, the state tourism authority is not only interested in drawing tourists to the state to see the Civil War historical sites, Henderson said hopes are to draw tourists to all the heritage-related sites of the state. He said the planned Civil War Trail map and travel book that will start at the Chickamaugua Trail will branch out across the state to include all the Civil War sites. There will also be opportunities once in an area to have all the other local tourism sites of the area advertised such as the Tubman Museum, the island that is still mainly habited by those of the Gullah Culture, the Native American “Indian” mounds and village sites and any other tourist attractions of the state. Henderson said there will be a web site that also gives information of the tourist attractions of the state.
“They’ll not only see the Civil War history, but all the other history,” he said. “This is just a selling idea to get them in.”
He said across the world Georgia is most famous for its “Gone With The Wind”-type history and even people who come to the states from other counties want to come to Georgia to see “Tara.” The Civil War Trail will also include a map to visit some of the old plantation homes of the state that are still in existence.
Here’s a tip to my fellow Southerners. To paraphrase James Baldwin — who observed that “if you think you’re white, there’s no hope for you” — if you’re using Gone With the Wind and the word “history” in the same sentence, there’s no hope for you.