ONLY ON 3: Wilmington business closed in honor of Robert E. Lee’s birthday

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Submitted: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 9:34pm
Updated: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 9:40pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Many businesses and schools were closed in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday. Today at least one Wilmington business was closed in remembrance of another American leader.

Neighbors noticed Woodbury & Co. Commercial and Personal Insurance off Military Cutoff was closed today in honor of the birthday of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The controversial move has people on both sides of the argument speaking out.

“I think they shouldn’t shut down for Robert. E. Lee’s birthday, because it’s not a holiday, and they’re missing out on their money and their business,” Christopher McDougal of Wilmington said.

Jack Stanfield of Wilmington said, “If the business owner feels he needs to close for respect to what our nation has stood for, then he should have the right to do it himself.”

Many small business owners we spoke with said they were open on both MLK Day and Robert E. Lee’s birthday, because they say they could not afford to close.

We were unable to reach anyone at Woodbury & Co. to see why they chose to take Lee’s birthday off.


  • Guest1 says:

    I love it! I applaud Woodberry & Co. Insurance for this!

  • Guest Lee says:

    Please give Mr. Woodbury and all his employees my deepest regard and admiration. What WWAY meant for evil has turned around for good.

  • NCGULL says:

    Robert E. Lee refused to draw a sword against his home – Virginia. I would do the same for North Carolina. If you wouldn’t, you need to leave it – NOW. Slavery was alive and well a LOT longer under the American flag than it was the Confederate flag, so why all the criticism anyway? Robert E. Lee was an honorable man, and his birthday is what I celebrate on my January day off from work. Way to go, Woodbury & Co. – YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • A. JOHNSON says:


  • Brad says:

    Any business owner should have the right to close their business on what ever day they choose. I just hope they close on 1/19 out of respect for Robert E. Lee, not out of disrespect for the MLK holiday…

  • SportsFan says:

    Did Woodbury close for Martin Luther King Day? Just curious.

  • Guest12347 says:

    I agree WWAY is making more out of it – HELLO – thats what news people do – all these people are slamming WWAY, but yet, you watch the station, you get on THEIR website and post comments – if they are so bad, quit watching and posting – :)

    There are good people out there and great stories out there, but that story does not hit the headlines – tragedy, horrible does. That just goes to show this sick world that we are living in.

    All you see if rape, murder, shooting, fighting, etc… that sells –

    Someone that held the door open or just plain good ole people, that does not sell. – thats not news – and the news is going to go after what sells and they are going to stir up crap like this headline here to sell – and we fall for it because we get on their website and post about it.
    Wouldnt it be great if we would do this post like every other post and stay positive… encourage each other –
    wouldnt it be nice to have a headline of noticing “good” people.. but majority of the head line is bashing someone or tearing down a company…
    WWAY go out and find these GOOD people w/ GOOD REAL stories – pass on what life should be about, helping, serving, respect, caring for each other.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    Sports Fan

    What difference does it make whether they closed in observance of Martin Luther King Day?

    They likely do not close for St, Patrick’s Day.

    They likely do not close for Queen Elizabeth’s birthday.

    That’s the beauty of this country. Freedom of choice.

    Did you ever walk a post or go on patrol, as a Member of our Military, in support of the freedoms we all enjoy?

    Just curious.

  • Guest 1 says:

    I applaud Woodbury for having the guts to stand up for a great American. More people should do the same in this world.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    no Southerner worked harder to rebuild the South and to mend the fences between the North and South.

    He took the Presidency of Washington College and restored it to greatness; and today we have Washington & Lee in Lexington, Va.

    He appeared before Congress; he met with President Grant’s administration to determine steps which could be taken to resolve the former disagreements.

    He had implemented a plan to free the slaves on his wife’s plantation and return them, if they wished, to Africa.

    He turned down repeated business opportunities which would have made he and his sons independantly wealthy.

    He was the spirit and inspiration for Sigma Nu.

    And he never marched over some long ago and mostly forgotten incident.

  • Employee says:

    WWAY is trying to turn this into a sensational news story in keeping with the dictate of their news director. Must have been a pretty slow day in the news department for them. Unfortunately for them, if they would educate themselves regarding REL, they would see there was more to the man than the fact he was a general for the south in the Civil War. My boss has a true admiration for him that has nothing to do with black or white.

    Any independent businessowner has the right to close for any reason on any given day. That’s what makes them “independent”.

    Mr. Woodbury is a fine person in his own right & doesn’t deserve to have his company exposed to innuendos like this. Shame on WWAY for making it appear this way.

  • Guest1234 says:

    I hope Woodbury’s business doubles this year. Way to go!!

  • Lesson Learned says:

    You’re right: “Wouldn’t it be great if we would do this post like every other post and stay positive” WWAY should have done just that; portrayed it in a positive light. Someone (Mr. Woodbury) honoring a much forgotten player in our American history. Not air the story in “scandalous light”. It caused me do a little research on Mr Lee and I found he was a virtuous man. The only person to ever graduate from West Point without a single demerit. Thank you for the history lesson learned.

  • Guest6858 says:

    Can’t someone disagree with you without being told to go back up North? Settle down Bubba.

  • GuestReality says:

    Well, I’ll try to explain it to you.

    One guy gets his feathers ruffled because Southerners want to celebrate Gen. Lee’s birthday, so he suggests Southerners also celebrate Gen. Grant’s birthday (that ain’t gonna happen, just like Northerners would NEVER celebrate Gen. Lee’s birthday). I was OK with that though, and just attributed his comment to a low IQ.

    However, he also stated, “without him (Gen. Grant) then Lee would not have been able to admit the south’s defeat in the civil war and sign the treaty”. Don’t you think that’s a little rude and offensive and trying to rub Southerners faces in it AGAIN that we lost the war? Don’t you think we’re very well aware of that and sick of hearing it? Every Northerner I’ve ever met continues to remind me.

    Then another *sshole butts in and says, “Settle down Bubba”, as if all Southerners are fat redneck trailer trash. Yeah, that tends to rile me just a bit. Southerners will show all the hospitality you can imagine, but we would be absolute fools to be doormats. When you take away a Southerners pride, hospitality flies out the window.

    Then you come along telling me you have an issue with how I’m reacting to all of this, while not mentioning your fellow Northerners posts at all. You proceed to call me unhospitable, narrow minded, and narcissistic, while attempting to tell me how wrong I am to respond to rude insults. Then you apologize for offending me, and expect me to understand your rant was just to share your opinion.

    If Southerners want to celebrate Gen. Lee’s birthday, what’s the harm? I sure wouldn’t care if you celebrated Gen. Grant’s birthday. What you call “snapped” is what I call standing up to someone who’s trying to trash me. Any time you want to meet in person, let me know and we’ll arrange a place so that neither of us will be “hiding behind the screen of the internet”. I’ll even bring Bubba with me, just so you can better understand what trailer life is all about. It will be a real education for you.

  • GuestReality says:

    So where are your manners? Yes, I was born in Wilmington and have lived here for over 65 years. If I’m grouchy, it’s because I’m old, not because I’m from the South. Too bad your Mama didn’t teach you to mind your own business and not to talk back to your elders.

  • GuestReality says:

    A Northern transplant who finally GETS IT!!! Congratulations, Common. My hat’s off to you. You, sir, are a gentleman, and I am most grateful for your comments.

  • Guest Lee says:

    Where is southern hospitality? Well, Southerners aren’t saints; and if they’re treated rudely, they generally give back as good as they got. But if you’re considerate and good mannered to them, they will be the same to you….even Bubba.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    Had plenty of manners down here till it got overrun with northerners.

  • GuestReality says:

    Oh, another transplant…shocker there! Why don’t you post to your fellow Yankee the same thing you posted to me, since he was the original one to disagree with all the other posters. Funny that it’s OK for him to disagree, but no one else.

    BTW, Einstein, read my post again. No where in it did I say for the poster to go back up north. That’s YOUR words. I only asked him why he moved here in the first place if he didn’t like Southerners. But I would certainly not stand in the way of progress if you BOTH wanted to head up north. Happy trails!

  • BL says:

    You sir/madam, have explained the situation most eloquently. You’re welcome to stay! Enjoy the barbecue & collards!!!

  • jay123456789 says:

    i will admit i am not from wilmington. and i dont mind it here at all. but it is your attitude that i have an issue with. it is the narrow minded and narcissistic attitude only “true southerners” belong here and everyone else should go back to where ever they are from. i am not trying to slam you and whatever you believe is right and wrong but i am just saying that if you are going to celebrate one civil war general who signed at the treaty at appomattox then why not the other? or just leave things the way they are let it just be a memory. not every person from history needs a holiday. who next?! general patton? jimi hendrix? george clooney? all i am saying is that is controversial and everyone is entitled to their opinion. now be a “true southerner” and show some of that southern hospitality you are supposedly known for, or is that just another thing of the past you support but only when the time is right? i am sorry for offending you, all i wanted was to share an opinion on a current event. if we were face to face, would you have snapped like that? or are you just hiding behind the screen of the internet?

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    I arrived here for the first time in 1973. It was an unspoiled paradise. The only negatives were lousy pizza and no bagels. That was more than compensated for with barbecue and collards.

    One of the reasons that I have stayed here, been accepted by locals, and been successful is that I A) respect the culture and B) don’t try to change it.

    Now the worst that I can say about your post is that it reflects an insensitivity toward the commonly held beliefs surrounding Robert E. Lee. Comparing Grant to Lee is like comparing a jute floormat to a fine oriental carpet. Lee was a reasonably competent general (he was NOT a brilliant tactician, though he was smert enough to have a lot of them working for him) but his greatest claim to fame is that he was one of the most principled and ethical leaders in American history. He IS the Lee in Washington-Lee University. Grant, meanwhile, went on to preside over the second most corrupt administration in US history.

    Again, not talking about you or all immigrants, far too many come here and immediately set about trying to transform Wilmington into Brooklyn or East Meadow. It baffles me – they moved here because the taxes were so low and life was so simple and laid back, then immediately vote yes on any looney-toon bond referendum for any cause whatsoever. They love the natural beauty but then rejoice when someplace like Mayfaire gets built and you don’t get to see horse galloping across open meadows on your way to work, as you used to.

    Now the conservative Leo Gorcey-like voices coming out of Brunswick County give me some hope, but for every one of them you have one moving into the Historic District, tuning into NPR and MSNBC just like they’ve always done, and completely understanding why we need to raise taxes to help_________ (insert any whacko liberal cause).

    So if you always keep in mind that this is THEIR territory (we left ours, and we left it for a reason) and “when in Rome do as the Romans do,” you’ll find no better, warmer, and greater people in the world.

    Truth be told, having seen what the great Northern influx has done to this state in the past forty years, especially around Raleigh and Charlotte, I probably resent it more than most natives. Paradise has been destroyed. I saw it happen to Maryland in the Seventies, Virginia in the Eighties, and now it’s our turn. It’s like a malignant growth coming out of New Yawk (Da Island!)/New Joisey and growing Southward.

    Nothing personal against you or anyone, but collectively, had I known that five-million of you people were going to follow me down here, I’d have kept heading South and would likely be in Tierra del Fuego by now….but I’m sure their pizza stinks and they don’t even have collards.

  • Southern Born says:

    So what you are saying is that if you want to be an indian, all you have to do is move to a reservation, join a tribe, or make an imitation head dress.

    and for you history buffs

    Casualties during the Civil war were 365,000 Union, 265,000 Confederates. Truth is that we really didnt want slavery we were just looking for a reason to kill a bunch of yaw, so once we got bored we just stopped.

    If you want proof why didnt yaw just load up after the war and come on down and claim your victory.

    but thanks too most of you we know have a good use for our swamp Land, yaw call it subdivisions.

  • Guest1165 says:

    Jay, I don’t think GuestLee posing as GuestReality is from the South originally either. People truly from the South are brought up with a little thing called “manners”.

  • Guest19 says:

    Their recording said they were honoring his birthday; they made no reference to it as a holiday. And Woodbury is not a “store”, it’s an insurance agency. And if you never heard of Woodbury, you’re definately not from Wilmington.

  • GuestReality says:

    Yeah, let’s make a holiday for the biggest boozer in the War Between the States. Real bright idea there, Einstein.

    Woodbury is a well known insurance company around here. Only a transplant wouldn’t know who they are. Why did you even move here if you don’t like the South, Einstein?

  • Objective Observer says:

    Congrats Woodbury, for anyday you wish to observe in honor this Great Nation’s History. Many have died in defense of our Rights and our FREEDOM to CHOOSE. I applaud you and anyone else who excercise on those rights and refuse the biases that criticize those who do.
    Respectfully to all,
    Objective Observer, DAV

  • Fellow agent says:

    I congratulate Woodbury on taking a day off to celebrate a historic figure. Other businesses close for Martin Luther King, Jr. What makes him more important than Lee? They were both important men in history. Why does King have a holiday and Lee doesn’t? Why don’t other historic figures have their own holiday?

    Woodbury is a privately owned business and if they choose to honor this date, then they should be able to. If they want to close the last Friday of every month, then they should be able to. If they want to close every rainy day, then they should be able to. They don’t need anyone from outside telling them how to run their business or casting criticism or racist remarks.

    It’s nobody’s business why they were closed for Lee’s birthday. They don’t have to answer to anyone. Did WWAY call businesses that were closed on MLK day to inquire as to why they chose to close their business? Then why is this any different? By the way, this isn’t the first year they have closed on this day. They closed last year too…and life kept on going.

  • BL says:

    Well said! Robert E. Lee was an honorable man.

  • Jerry says:

    I applaud Woodbury & Company for recognizing the Birthday of a True American Hero & Leader, who by the way was against slavery and an advocate for peace. I wish people would take time to research history and get the facts. I revere and respect the Confederate Flag as it is part of my heritage. I had a Great Great Grandfather who was at General Lee’s side at Appamattox. Our flag was never seen as racist until the klan began carrying it in the 1930’s after the federal goverment cracked down on them. Before that this hate group carried the American flag at all their events. So people please don’t judge a flag or it’s people just because a few extemists try to use it for a different purpose. Happy Birthday General Lee!!

  • jay123456789 says:

    if this seriously becomes a holiday then i say that we start having a holiday on april 27 in the honor of ulysses s grant! without him then lee would not have been able to admit the south’s defeat in the civil war and sign the treaty. or the better idea is to just skip all of this and stop making up holidays just to be controversial and get some free publicity for a store no one has heard of before.

  • Tammy says:

    I am with this Company,It should be made a national Hoilday in Honor of General Robert E Lee

  • Guest2020 says:

    Robert E. Lee does have an official holiday in North Carolina and I applaud Woodbury & Co. for honoring it.

  • Jerry says:

    It’s about time! Robert E. Lee was a southern gentleman and fought in the Civil War in support of his home state VA. He was opposed to slavery and his views had nothing to do with racism. He was a true gentleman and a positive symbol for the South. I think WWAY is trying to make this a controversial issue when it should not be. I’m moving my insurance to Woodbury and Company. If Woodbury and Company wants to close in honor of Robert E. Lee’s birthday, they should be allowed to do so.

  • Robert T. Willis says:

    I LOVE IT!

  • U S Grant says:

    Come on, you in the South. Get over it.

  • GuestReality says:

    Yeah, like we’re going to obey you just because you said it. Northerners are idiots.

  • RSimmons says:

    There was more to the man than the Civil War. His surrendering at Appomattox saved 10’s of thousands of lives.
    If it makes anyone feel better we can get together for a bonfire on General Sherman’s birthday on February 8th.

  • Guest21 says:

    Way to go Woodbury! Hope more businesses will do the same. They will get my business.

  • terri langley says:

    Way to go Woodbury & Co! If others had the guts and glory that you have displayed today then maybe our country would have more pride in all historical moments, including Robert E. Lee’s Birthday. As a non-corporate company you should be aloud to choose what holidays you want to acknowledge.

  • Guest Lee says:

    Sorry about the typo. “Yeah”.

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