JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – This past Monday was Confederate Memorial Day in Mississippi, which is a state holiday. It’s also taken on the dual name of “State Employee Appreciation Day.”

Texas, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee also observe Confederate Memorial Day. The date is different in each state, ranging from January to June.

Confederate Memorial Day used to be observed in Georgia, Louisiana and Virginia, but those states have dropped it.

Our Mississippi landscape is dotted with Confederate cemeteries. There are a string of them in East Mississippi, where wounded from the Battle of Shiloh were taken by train to any town that would take them in. The ones who survived went home, and the ones who didn’t are buried there.

These cemeteries stretch from Corinth to Enterprise. Union troopers were mixed in, too, but for the most part, the Union dead were reburied in national cemeteries during the years after the war.

Other than the Revolutionary War, which created the nation, the Civil War defined us. It welded us together as an inseparable union.

The war that divided us is also the war that united us in purpose and resolve for all Americans, of all colors, creeds, religions and nationalities.