Robert Edward Lee, who would become known as one of the most brilliant military commanders in American history, was born to Revolutionary War hero Henry Lee III and Anne Carter Lee at Stratford Hall in Virginia on January 19, 1807...
Robert Edward Lee died on October 12, 1870, in Lexington, Virginia. On January 19, 1871, the City of Savannah became the first city in America to celebrate Robert Edward Lee’s birthday as a public holiday and later, in 1889, the State of Georgia would enact a law to make his birthday a state holiday. When the late President Gerald Ford officially restored Robert Edward Lee’s citizenship in 1975, the president remarked, "General Lee’s character has been an example to succeeding generations, making the restoration of his citizenship an event in which every American can take pride". This bicentennial commemoration offers an excellent opportunity to enhance educational programs and encourage historical tourism within the state and will bring national attention to the legacy of Robert Edward Lee and the State of Georgia.
Regarding state holidays...ever wonder why Robert E. Lee’s Birthday is not observed on January 19th, but is observed on the Friday after Thanksgiving? And why is Washington’s Birthday not observed on February 17th, but is observed at Christmas time?
Here’s why. The Georgia State Legislature meets yearly in January, February, and March without taking a holiday, except for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday in January. A few years ago, the state observed holidays on the prescribed date. But one year, while the legislature was in session, some legislators (or was it the Governor?) needed information from a state department, but couldn’t get it because the department was closed for the holiday.
So, the State Holiday Schedule was changed to what it is today. And isn’t it nice to have an "extra" day at Thanksgiving and Christmas?
In 2024 Robert E. Lee’s Birthday in Georgia in USA falls on November 22.