I was unaware until today that there is a campaign to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. I am very well aware that there is only one federal holiday (Independence Day on July 4th) between Memorial Day at the end of May and Labor Day on the first Monday of September. That's pretty rough going for people like me who work for the Federal Government.
Today U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) introduced legislation to have the federal government recognize Juneteenth:
June 19, shortened to the unique date Juneteenth, has become the symbolic anniversary of the freeing of the slaves. The Juneteenth Independence Day observance would be similar to Flag Day or Arbor Day; institutions would not be closed, but the event would have national recognition.
"By observing this day, our nation will honor the role that Juneteenth has played in African American culture in Texas and throughout the country, and it will remind us that, in America, we are all blessed to live in freedom," Hutchison said in an e-mail.
Hutchison's staff, not authorized to be quoted by name, says the legislation is not controversial and they do not expect any opposition.
The bill is another step in a movement to bring Juneteenth into prominence. Forty-one states have passed bills establishing a state observance of Juneteenth, almost half of them since 2007.
On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, to declare that the Civil War had ended and that all enslaved people were free. General Order Number 3, as it's known, was read by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger. The declaration came more than two years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which he issued Sept. 22, 1862, to take effect Jan. 1, 1863.Hmmm, well I am glad that the process for federal recognition is moving along.