It’s Juneteenth

    Today is Juneteenth, the newest federal holiday, but since it falls on Sunday this year it will be observed tomorrow.

     All federal, state, and county offices will be closed as will the financial markets and most banks. There will be no mail delivery.

      Some cities will observe the holidays, but not Chadron. City Hall and the Public Library will be open and Chadron Public Transit will run its normal schedule.

     Juneteenth, officially Juneteenth National Independence Day, was signed into law by President Joe Biden last June 17th and enacted by all 50 states. South Dakota was last this past February.

     Juneteenth marks what many consider the end of slavery in the United States. While the Emancipation Proclamation had freed all slaves in the Confederate States on Jan 1, 1863, it was enforce incrementally as Union forces conquered the South.

    The last state to surrender was Texas and on June 19, 1865, military governor Major General Gordon Granger issued an order in Galveston clearly stating the end of slavery.

     The anniversary celebration began in Texas and spread to other southern states, but didn’t come to national prominence until the last few years. 

    Nebraska Governor Pete Rickeets says “it’s a day we should all celebrate. On Juneteenth, we reaffirm the truth that all men are created equal as we celebrate the blessings of liberty.”

    Ricketts says “Since even before we became a state, Nebraskans have bravely sacrificed to uphold our nation’s founding principle of equality” with the 1st Nebraska Regiment fighting valiantly in the Union Army during the Civil War to helpe the North triumph over the Confederacy and put an end to slavery.”

     Ricketts says Black Nebraskans such as Tuskegee Airman Alfonza Davis; Navy Sailor Charles Jackson French; and Staff Sergeant Lillian Clamens have continued to dedicate themselves to advancing the nation’s principle of equality and defending America from its adversaries. 

    Ricketts says the sacrifices of those individuals and others of all races “have made possible the freedom and equal rights we enjoy.”