Commission calls for removal of Confederate symbols from U.S. Army and Navy academies

At West Point, the nation’s oldest service academy, hangs a portrait of General Robert E. Lee wearing his Confederate uniform. A gate and a road on campus are both named after him, as are a number of other buildings and facilities — which a federally mandated panel recommends changing.

The Naming Commission, which is responsible for reviewing and altering military assets that commemorate Confederate figures, has recommended removing the names and likenesses of Lee and other Confederate figures from the Military Academy, often referred to as West Point. for its location, and the Naval Academy. second and final report to Congress, released this week, is part of a continuous effort remove the symbols of the Confederacy from government property.

The West Point Military Academy campus is pictured October 26, 2014.

John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Many of the new recommendations focused on the military academy, located in West Point, New York, where a number of campus facilities and some monuments are named after Lee, as well as the names of other Army generals. Confederate. Lee’s portrait inside one of the academy’s buildings is among the “paraphernalia” unanimously recommended for removal by the commission.

The commission’s recommendations include a series of changes estimated to cost more than $400,000. But there are still images and references to Lee, who served as superintendent of the school for a time, which the commission says can “stay put” because they “strictly reflect his service in the U.S. Army as superintendent at West Point” and “do not confuse his Confederate service.”

Panel released recommendations in May to rename nine U.S. military installations and is reviewing more than 750 Pentagon assets, including street names and signs, to decide if they commemorate the Confederacy and should be renamed. Once the recommendations are finalized in October, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has just over a year to implement them all. Its deadline is January 2024.

The commission, which operates under a federal mandate set out in defense spending legislation last year, said in its new report that the recommendations were not made “with the intent to” clear history””.

“The facts of the past remain, and commissioners are confident that the history of the Civil War will continue to be taught in all service academies with all the quality and intricate detail that our national past deserves,” the report said. “Rather, they make these recommendations to affirm West Point’s long tradition of educating future generations of American military leaders to represent the best of our national ideals.”

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