The day is in remembrance of soldiers who died the U.S. Civil War and is a public holiday in nine Southern states.
Observers say there won't be many politicians attending any of the eight memorial services scheduled over the next 10 days -- the holiday is May 10 for South Carolina -- except for Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, tasked with overseeing the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley's move from recovery to conservation, The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported Thursday.
"It's all about those men and their sacrifice and to make sure they aren't forgotten," said Randy Burbage, past commander of the South Carolina division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "I think at one time it got away from that, but we're heading back in the right direction."
Confederate Memorial Day has been a state holiday in South Carolina for 12 years, but the tradition extends back to the Civil War and Reconstruction. Origins of honoring the South's war dead also can be traced to the Siege of Charleston in 1780, when women sneaked out at night to bury the dead and place Confederate flags on their graves.
May 10 was chosen because it is the anniversary of Stonewall Jackson's death, The Post and Courier said.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy's memorial service at Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery, where about 800 Confederate soldiers are buried, has been an annual event since 1894.