Virginia's Republican Governor Bob McDonnell has declared April to be "Confederate History Month," the first time in 8 years that such a proclamation has been issued in the state.
In the statement, McDonnell says that the Confederate history "should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered," and that its leaders "fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth in a time very different than ours today."
Here's a portion of the statement from McDonnell's website:
WHEREAS, April is the month in which the people of Virginia joined the Confederate States of America in a four year war between the states for independence that concluded at Appomattox Courthouse; and
WHEREAS, Virginia has long recognized her Confederate history, the numerous civil war battlefields that mark every region of the state, the leaders and individuals in the Army, Navy and at home who fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth in a time very different than ours today; and [...]
WHEREAS, this defining chapter in Virginia's history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians, both in the context of the time in which it took place, but also in the context of the time in which we live, and this study and remembrance takes on particular importance as the Commonwealth prepares to welcome the nation and the world to visit Virginia for the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Civil War, a four-year period in which the exploration of our history can benefit all;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert McDonnell, do hereby recognize April 2010 as CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.
McDonnell's two Democratic predecessors -- Mark Warner and Tim Kaine -- refused to issue such proclamations, the Washington Post reports.
"Republican governors George Allen and Jim Gilmore issued similar proclamations. But in 2002, Warner broke with their action, calling such proclamations, a 'lightning rod' that does not help bridge divisions between whites and blacks in Virginia."