Change Confederate generals’ names now

As a veteran of several military bases, I would vote to change the names of all the facilities named for generals who fought for the Confederate army during our nation’s Civil War.
I offer such action with a heavy heart because of the link I still have with the facilities that helped to create the soldier I had become and the lessons learned in the US Army.
But we could easily find replacements from a list of generals or other military personnel that never fought against America but tried to uphold its promise to all the people, for the people, and of the people.
What’s wrong with Fort Dwight D Eisenhower? How about Fort Douglass McArthur? Eisenhower was the commander of the Allied Forces that defeated the Nazis and McArthur fought in both World War II and the Korean War. So what if President Truman relieved him of his command for disobeying an order. We’re talking about generals here not politicians!
And to bring it more up-to-date let’s name a base for General William Westmoreland. “Westy” as his troops called him, took part in fighting back the Tet Offensive of Vietnam in 1968. Politics lead to his removal shortly afterward but he served as chief of staff of the Army later. I also met his daughter while meditating at a Buddhist retreat with a monk from Vietnam who’s name is Thich Nhat Hahn.
The meanest drill sergeant I ever met had it in for me when he learned I signed up for OCS (Officers Candidate School). He wanted to ensure I could take the heat and ordered me to “drop down and give me 20 . . .” (20 push-ups) about 20,000 times at Fort Bragg.

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bases
Ten Traitors to American values

But Fort Benning will always be my favorite despite a name change. It is where I was commissioned as an officer after six months of rigorous training just like in the movie with Richard Gear, “An Officer and a Gentleman.” It was also where I “earned my wings” in Jump School and became a paratrooper with five “cherry Jumps.”

I still remember the song we candidates sang about Fort Benning. The words will be forever emblazoned in my heart:

“Far across the Chattahoochee. To the Upatoi. Stands our loyal Alma Mater. Benning’s School for boys. Forward ever. Backward never. Faithfully we strive. Toward our final destination. Follow me with pride. When it’s time and we are called. To guard our country’s might. We’ll be there with head held high. To lead in Freedom’s fight. Yearning ever. Failing never. To keep our country free. The call is clear. We meet the task. For we are infantry.”

But like Sam Cook said in his memorable song right before he died. “It’s been a long, a long time coming. But I know a change’s gonna come, oh, yes, it will . . .”

7 comments on “Change Confederate generals’ names now

    • contoveros says:

      Thank you, Nancy. I wrote this with a heavy heart because of my fond memories of the army camps I was stationed at during my three-year career in the military.
      I was also stationed at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Panama. It was not named for a general but for the sitting president of the United States. I am hoping we can change the current resident of the White House by next January so that we won’t have one of the bases named for you know who.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Tara says:

    Thank you so very much for all of your service. I think your ideas are pretty good ones! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • contoveros says:

      Thanks for your kind words. It’s amazing that the US Army itself was not integrated until Harry Truman became president. That was some eighty years after the Civil War ended!

      As someone once wrote: “God grant me the courage to change the things I can . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love hearing what military folk think about all of this. And so far, I’ve been surprised. Truth is, I love my country. I do. But we have gotten our history wrong and our of whack. We’ve left so much out. Someone once said that the “history is written by the victor” – well, I don’t know who came up with that baloney, but history should be written by historians. Then and only then will we actually get the full story and understand the nuances of everything.

    I’ll be honest, I’m no sure I like that Speaker Nancy Pelosi took down the portraits of the other Speaker of the Houses.If anything, I would have preferred an asterisk by their paintings, again to tell the real truth of who this country elected into office — but I, as a woman of color – as an American, appreciate the effort.

    Liked by 2 people

    • contoveros says:

      Thanks for your insight. I never thought about the names of the bases I had been stationed at. I was simply ordered to go there and had no knowledge of their history. I believe most veterans would like to see names changed to honor other military leaders.

      I don’t know that much about Nancy Pelosi’s change to the portraits of former speakers of the house. I feel the same way about Christopher Columbus and how Italians in south Philadelphia placed a wooden box around his statue to prevent its removal.

      Yes, history should be written by unbiased historians without glorifying or demonizing anyone. That’s the best way for all of us to learn about our true past.

      Liked by 1 person

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