Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a proclamation designating April as Confederate Heritage Month.
Reeves, a Republican, quietly signed the proclamation last Friday; however, this was not the first time the state’s top executive enacted such a decree. The state’s last governor, Phil Bryant, made the same proclamation in 2016.
“As we honor all who lost their lives in this war, it is important for all Americans to reflect upon our nation’s past, to gain insight from our mistakes and successes, and to come to a full understanding that the lessons learned yesterday and today will carry us through tomorrow if we carefully and earnestly strive to understand and appreciate our heritage and our opportunities which lie before us,” the proclamation reads, according to the Jackson Free Press.
The proclamations signed by Reeves and Bryant are not identical. In Bryant’s, the declaration heaps responsibility for the Civil War fully on the Confederacy. “April is the month when the Confederate states began and ended a four-year struggle,” that proclamation read.
The proclamation signed by Reeves did not assign blame to any side.
“April is the month when, in 1861, the American Civil War began between the Confederate and Union armies, reportedly the costliest and deadliest war ever fought on American soil,” Reeves’s proclamation read.
The new proclamation comes during a renewed national debate over Confederate monuments. Critics of the monuments say they are offensive to African Americans and celebrate the Confederacy and its defense of slavery. Others argue the removal of the monuments is erasing history.
The Mississippi governor was a member of the state’s local branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The group, whose members have claimed the Civil War was not fought over slavery, shared the proclamation on their Facebook page, saying: “God bless the Confederate Soldier. He shall never be forgotten. Deo Vindice!”
Deo Vindice, which means “with God as our defender/protector,” was the national motto of the Confederate States of America.
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