Lexington kicks off weekend Lee-Jackson Day events


LEXINGTON, Va. (WSET) -- Friday marked a statewide holiday, Lee-Jackson Day and some folks kicked off a weekend celebration in Lexington.

Nearly 50 people gathered to listen to stories and the meaning behind their history as the Stonewall Brigade put on their Civil War symposium, celebrating their heritage and honoring two Confederate generals.

"I think it would be great if people would look at the members of the Sons of Confederate veterans not as a racist group, we want to honor the memory of our confederate ancestors," Peyton Fitzgerald, the Chaplain of the Stonewall Brigade, said.

Fitzgerald's great-grandfather fought in the Confederacy, and that's something he wants to honor.

"There's a lot more to a person's heritage, than what people's opinions might be," he said. "We're not pro-slavery at all."

The group expects protesters may show up at the annual Lee-Jackson Parade on Saturday.

"You can have the same heart for something, but different approaches," Fitzgerald added.

Inside, while people came to learn about history, Danny Martin was outside celebrating the state holiday.

"It's part of our heritage, right now that seems to be threatened," he said.

Martin said he doesn't want the current political climate to stop people from celebrating peacefully.

"It doesn't make sense," Martin said. "I show respect to everybody, I got nothing against nobody. I don't know why they have to do that to us."

Martin said he would be open to walking in the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade on Monday, but on Friday, he wanted to celebrate two of his favorite confederate generals.

"They all fought and died for what they believe in, they deserve respect for that," Martin said. "It's that simple."

The Lee-Jackson Parade starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and the Stonewall Brigade said they are hoping for a peaceful march.

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