In a not-well advertised decision, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi authorized a Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday weekend event in the U.S. Capitol that honored the birthday of Confederate war general Robert E. Lee. The January 16 event, which included a salute to the flag of the Confederacy, the singing of "Dixie," a wreath laying at the statue of Lee, and a guest speaker nostalgic reference to the "colored section" of the old Alexandria, Virginia streetcars, was sponsored by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
A multi-service honor guard from the Military District of Washington, DC presented the colors at the event, an indication of an endorsement for the Confederate celebration on the Martin Luther King birthday weekend by the Department of Defense and the Commander-in-Chief, Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the United States who often invokes King's statements in his speeches.
Among the guests participating in the Lee event in the U.S. Capitol's Crypt where Lee's bronze statue represents Virginia, were a District Court Judge for the District of Columbia, a forensic photographer for the U.S. Secret Service, and a top Republican Party operative.
At the beginning of June, the same groups sponsor a major celebration of Confederate President Jefferson Davis's birthday at the Confederate War Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. That annual event normally attracts a number of white supremacists and neo-Nazis, along with those who have a more general interest in honoring the Confederacy's President.
What some of our African-American President's troops were doing on Martin Luther King birthday weekend: honoring the Confederacy's general Robert E. Lee.
Tourists visiting the U.S. Capitol on Martin Luther King birthday weekend were a bit surprised to see this site along their tour route.
Alexandria, Virginia-based Confederate groups were central to the Lee Birthday celebration in the U.S. Capitol. One long-time observer of Alexandria's recent past told WMR that the town is a nest for neo-Confederates, arms dealers, nuclear material smugglers, lobbyists, CIA front organizations, and money laundering activities. It is also the town where this editor was set up in an elaborate arrest last year, ostensibly to discover information from a source about the CIA's involvement with jailed ex-tycoon Allen Stanford in laundering drug money through Panama and Antigua.
Capitol ceremony was complete with a Robert E. Lee look-alike.