Lots of others may be deserting them, but the U.S. military says it will keep honoring Confederate generals.
The Pentagon announced Wednesday that it will not take part in the national hysteria over every reminder of the Confederate South after last week’s massacre of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white supremacist.
The names of military installations honoring Confederate generals will not be changed.
It’s about individual character — not political leanings.
“Every Army installation is named for a soldier who holds a place in our military history,” said Brig. Gen. Malcolm Frost, chief spokesman for the Army, as reported by Tribune News Service. “Accordingly, these historic names represent individuals, not causes or ideologies.”
After the mass shooting in the Emanuel AME Church last week, government officials in at least three states — Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina — have called for removal of the Confederate flag from state grounds.
In addition, major retailers such as Walmart, Sears and Amazon will no longer market the flag.
Confederate flags are no longer being sold at Gettysburg National Park’s gift store, and a New York film critic is even calling for no further screenings of the classic film “Gone with the Wind.”
But the military will play no role in the frenzy.
Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said it’s up to each service branch to name its installations.
“The services are ultimately responsible for naming their own military installations, and as of now, there are no current plans to change policies regarding how installations are named,” Warren said.
Army bases named for Confederate heroes include:
— Fort Bragg, command center for Army airborne and special forces. It is named after Gen. Braxton Bragg, who was a Confederate general and a close friend of Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy’s president, from their days fighting side by side in the U.S. Army in the Mexican War.
— Fort Hood, the military’s largest base, with more than 53,000 soldiers. It is a major training hub named after Gen. John Bell Hood, who commanded Confederate troops and was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg.
— Fort Gordon, home of the Army Signal Corps in Augusta, Georgia. The base was named after Gen. John Brown Gordon, a close confidant of Confederate Army Commander Robert E. Lee who spent much of his later life denying widespread reports that he had headed the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia.
Not everyone is pleased with this decision, however, including race-baiter Al Sharpton. Business Insider reported:
The Rev. Al Sharpton’s civil rights group, the National Action Network, wants the U.S. military to rename all of its facilities that honor Confederate Army figures, including a street named for Robert E. Lee on Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York.
Sharpton will be holding a vigil in front of Fort Hamilton on Saturday. Ahead of that event, Minister Kirsten John Foy, the National Action Network’s Northeast regional director, held a press conference in front of the base on Thursday.
“Fort Hamilton is the face of the U.S. Army here in New York, and the face of the U.S. Army here in New York is Gen. Robert E. Lee,” said Foy. “That is unacceptable as a New Yorker, as an American, and as a person of good conscience.”
The Army doesn’t see it that way. Frost said the installations named after Confederate officers were named long after the Civil War’s conclusion.
“It should be noted that the naming occurred in the spirit of reconciliation, not division,” he said.
If only the rest of the nation — especially Sharpton and Foy — felt the same way. But they’re more into division.
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