For years, on the fourth Monday in April people showed up to the courthouse to buy car tags and fishing licenses, unaware that it was closed for the state holiday, which is officially observed in Alabama, Willingham explained. Businesses, schools and even offices in neighboring counties stay open, Willingham said, so people complained about the local government not doing the same. He understood their frustration.
“It’s not a prominent holiday,” said Willingham, who was born and raised in Cullman County, about 50 miles north of Birmingham. “I don’t think Microsoft adds Confederate Memorial Day to my Outlook.”
Usually, the holiday passes largely unnoticed, even by the local press.
But that didn’t happen this year. County officials voted to stay open on Confederate Memorial Day and instead close Cullman County’s government doors on Good Friday
, a day when there’s less demand for county services. After that vote, people told Willingham and his colleagues that they “ought to be ashamed of dishonoring our Confederate veterans,”