On Monday, the state of Alabama and many of its citizens will observe Confederate Memorial Day. Why not?

It’s a part of our heritage, our culture, and a part of who we are as a people. We don’t need to debate the causes of the war, or whether commemoration of the holiday is an endorsement of the war. It’s not.

No rational person, no one who loves his neighbor would ever try to defend slavery as an institution, not the virulent form of it that we evolved.

Our country.

May she be always in the right, but our country, right or wrong. We have long disagreed among ourselves as to the rationale for going to war but through most of our history we have united to honor the men and women who served, once we had gone to war, the one notable exception being Vietnam and the shameful way we treated our veterans of that conflict.

It’s time that all Americans accepted that the war between the states happened. It’s a part of our heritage, of who we are as southerners, black, white, yellow, brown and red. Get over it.

Confederate Memorial Day is dedicated, like Opelika’s Confederate Monument, to the memory of those who lost their lives in the war. Many, many men — both black and white — and more than a few women, gave their lives in service to their country, the confederacy. Their lives deserve our remembrance, just as do the fallen in all the other wars in which our country has participated.

We can’t pick and choose. We either honor them all or we dishonor them all.