How much has America changed? Well, consider moves being made at West Point.
Over the summer, Washington’s Naming Commission — comprised of four civilians and as many retired military vets — came to final conclusions regarding seven different Department of Defense “assets.” In its report, the group recommended a renaming of sites honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee, along with Generals P.G.T. Beauregard and William Hardee.
And over the holidays, the United States Military Academy at West Point began the process of purging Lee from its hallowed halls.
As relayed by the Daily News, Superintendent Lieutenant General Steve Gilland released a December 26th statement:
“During the holiday break, we will begin a multi-phased process, in accordance with Department of Defense directives, to remove, rename or modify assets and real property at the United States Military Academy and West Point installation that commemorate or memorialize the Confederacy or those who voluntarily served with the Confederacy.”
“We will conduct these actions with dignity and respect,” he added.
Included in the extraction: a 20-foot portrait of the man who served as superintendent of the United States Military Academy from 1852 to 1855. The 1931 painting of Lee has long towered over cadets in West Point’s Jefferson Hall library.
Monikers being stricken from the school:
- Lee Road
- Lee Gate
- Lee Area Child Development Center
- Lee Housing Area
- Lee Barracks
For a cultural contrast, consider that — from 1979 to 1985 — The Dukes of Hazzard had young boys around the nation enraptured by an automotive General Lee — compliments of CBS and Warner Brothers Television. These days, the military man is being scrubbed by the military — at the academy over which he presided.
And in case you missed it:
Times change; people change; countries change. As part of that evolution, the Naming Commission wants 2001’s “Reconciliation Plaza” — aimed at honoring all those who fought in the Civil War — wiped as well.
Per the report:
The Commission recommends the Plaza should be reviewed by West Point to remove the engraved images that commemorate individuals who voluntarily served in the Confederacy. In addition, West Point should remove or modify monuments within the plaza that commemorate the Confederacy. Modifications of the plaza should contextualize historical aspects.
Fox News notes the Commission has insisted it has no “intention of ‘erasing history.'”
Nothing can erase history; it’s too late for that. But we can certainly sweep it under the rug. What will be the impact? Whatever it is, we’re certainly on course to find out.
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