- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 26, 2017

The latest bill filed in the Florida legislature would eliminate three Confederate holidays from the state calendar if signed into law.

State Sen. Lauren Book, a Democrat from Broward County, proposed a bill Friday afternoon, S.B. 224. removing “Confederate Memorial Day” and the birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis from the official list of state-sanctioned holidays.

“I believe we must underscore diversity and undercut tributes to Confederacy, which upheld the institution of slavery,” Ms. Book said in a statement.

“During a time when the country is completely divided, I think we look at celebrating our unique coming together instead of some of the things that kind of create hate and divisive environments,” she told CBS4.

The lawmakers proposal comes as nation continues to reel from violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, this month centered around the city’s decision to remove a statue honoring Lee, a Confederate Army general who fought against the United States during the American Civil War. Clashes broke out there on Aug. 12 ahead of a rally held by supporters of the statue, and a counterprotester was killed when a person drove their car into a crowd of demonstrators, according to police.

Ms. Book wants to trim the list of state holidays from 21 days to 19 by removing a day devoted to all solders who fought for the South and died during the war as well as days honoring Lee and Davis, the Confederate States president.

“Why are we celebrating and putting some folks on a pedestal, that declared war on own country. That is what that’s about. That’s what that was,” she said.

“Robert E. Lee himself did not want to be memorialized. He did not want people celebrating him or the civil war.”

Florida currently celebrates Lee’s birthday on January 19, Confederate Memorial Day on April 26 and Jefferson Davis’ birthday on June 3. None of the holidays are paid days off for state employees but the dates are nonetheless recognized much to the chagrin of Ms. Book, the CBS affiliate reported.

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