The dismantling of the Confederate Memorial in Virginia has outraged several Republican members of Congress, leading them to oppose the removal.
Here are the details of the news.
Confederate Memorial’s Removal Sparks Political Outrage
The removal of a Confederate memorial has become a highly contentious issue that has sparked outrage among many political leaders.
The Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, represents members of the armed forces of the Confederate States of America who died in the American Civil War. The memorial, which was designed by former Confederate soldier and sculptor Moses Jacob Ezekiel, the first Jewish graduate of Virginia Military Institute, was unveiled on June 4, 1914, by President Woodrow Wilson on the 106th birth anniversary of Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America.
According to the Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) website, Ezekiel and three other Confederate soldiers were buried at the base of this memorial in 1921.
The description of the monument on the ANC website states, “The Confederate Memorial offers an opportunity for visitors to reflect on the history and meanings of the Civil War, slavery, and the relationship between military service, citizenship, and race in America.”
Recent Developments and Legal Challenges
In 2022, the Naming Commission recommended removing the Confederate Memorial in its report to Congress on renaming military bases and assets. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin agreed to follow the proposal, and the memorial is set to be potentially removed by December 22, 2023.
However, Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has expressed disagreement with the decision. Macaulay Porter’s spokesman stated that the Governor plans to shift the memorial to the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park in the Shenandoah Valley.
While Glenn has suggested moving the memorial to another place, the decision has also infuriated many other Republican politicians. Last week, Republican Georgia Representative Andrew Clyde and 40 other Republicans expressed their anger with the decision through their letter to the Department of Defence (DOD) Secretary demanding to “immediately suspend all removal activities” and noting that the memorial should not be removed because it “does not honor nor commemorate the Confederacy; the memorial commemorates reconciliation and national unity.”
Clyde has even criticized the removal of the memorial on social media. On Sunday, he posted on X, “Joe Biden‘s woke DOD intends to move forward with its misguided plan to remove the Reconciliation Monument which commemorates national unity from Arlington National Cemetery. The Left wants division and destruction, not unity and reconciliation.”
Despite heavy opposition, the Confederate Memorial will be removed from the largest military graveyard in the United States by the beginning of the new year. According to the ANC statement, “All bronze elements of the memorial will be relocated. The granite base and foundation will remain in place to avoid disturbing surrounding graves.” A spokesperson for the ANC, Kerry Meeker, asserted that cemetery officials are “complying with a Congressionally mandated requirement to remove the Confederate Memorial by January 1, 2024.”
Meeker said the Confederate Memorial will be temporarily stored in a DOD facility in Virginia on Friday “until the final disposition has been determined.”
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