Under the Radar

Sound Off: Should the Pentagon Eliminate Confederate Base Names?

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Whether everyone agrees or not, America has collectively decided that the Confederate battle flag is more a symbol of the fight against civil rights in the '50s and '60s than it is a reflection of the South's heritage. Flags are coming down all over America and Bo & Luke Duke are likely casualties of the change.

Now there's a new issue: activists want the Pentagon to change the name of Army bases named after Confederate officers. This is no small request. Among the ten bases that would be changed are some of the Army's most iconic locations:

  • Fort Bragg, North Carolina, named for Gen. Braxton Bragg.
  • Fort Hood, Texas, named for Gen. John Bell Hood.
  • Fort Gordon, Georgia, named for Lt. Gen. John B. Gordon, who was reputed to be the leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia after the war.
  • Fort Lee, Virginia, home of the Army's Quartermaster School and named for Gen. Robert E. Lee.
  • Fort Polk, Louisiana, named for the slave owner and ardent secessionist Gen. Leonidas Polk.
  • Fort Rucker, Alabama, named for Col. Edmund Rucker, who became a leading industrialist in Birmingham after the war.
  • Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, named for Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill who was killed at the battle of Petersburg a week before the war ended.
  • Fort Pickett, Virginia, named for Maj. Gen. George Pickett who was in command for "Pickett's charge" at Gettysburg. Pickett went to Canada for a year after the war, fearing he would be tried as a traitor.
  • Fort Benning, Georgia, named for Brig. Gen. Henry Benning, a slavery supporter and politician.
  • Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, named for Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, whose troops fired the shots at Fort Sumter, S.C., that started the Civil War.
The Pentagon says  there's "no current discussion" about any kind of name change and says that each service is responsible for naming its own facilities.

A lot of folks who believe we should the Confederate flag from public buildings seem to take issue with the idea that we should eliminate Confederate history from our national record. Taking down a CSA flag that's been revived and appropriated as a symbol of racial division is one thing, but pretending we didn't fight a war with ourselves is another. Naming military facilities after Confederate war heroes was an effort to rebuild the country's connections after the war. Spend any time around the modern military and you'll meet a lot of veterans and active duty men and women who descended from men who fought for the CSA during the Civil War.

Should the United States military deny its Confederate heritage? Should the United States pretend we didn't fight our bloodiest conflict with ourselves? Or are facilities like Fort Hood and Fort Benning important reminders of our complicated history? Sound off!

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