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Survey: Majority oppose renaming facilities named for Confederate leaders

ILLUSTRATION BY CHRISTOPHER SIX/STARS AND STRIPES

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 29, 2015

The campaign to purge references to the Confederacy from public facilities may end at the front gate of American military facilities.

An overwhelming majority of people who took part in a Stars and Stripes online survey do not want to see the U.S. Army rename posts named after Confederate generals.

The issue of paying homage to men who fought under the rebel flag has come under recent scrutiny after the racially motivated killing of nine black worshippers in a historic Charleston, S.C., church on June 17. Calls to banish the Confederacy’s rebel flag from the South Carolina capitol grounds have turned into a national movement to strip symbols of the Confederacy from public parks and buildings, license plates, stores and more.

Included in that symbolism are 10 U.S. Army posts in southern states, including some of the largest facilities, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Benning in Georgia.

For the past week, Stars and Stripes asked its readers: Should U.S. military facilities named after Confederate generals be renamed?

Of the 21,504 responses collected, 88 percent (18,882) voted in favor of keeping the names.

More than 1,300 comments were posted to the poll. Here are some of the comments:

“As a U.S. Army veteran, I believe that these military bases have been in operation for decades and are well-known to active and veteran military personnel. Since we are such a small portion of the population, we should make the call. I also believe that the men, for whom these bases have been named, served with honor and many served both the U.S. during earlier wars and then the Confederate states during the civil war. They deserve to be honored and these bases should remain as they are.” — Harry Bolton
“This shouldn’t even be a question. PC pundits have completely lost their minds, much less their knowledge of history and the fact that trying to erase it won’t change it. As the Army itself has said these posts weren’t named for them because they happened to be Confederate at one point but because they were brilliant leaders and soldiers.” — TimsArmyWifey
“I tend to be very liberal myself, but on this one, I agree, the liberals have gone crazy. If we’re setting a standard that’s about being racist, then we’ll also need to remove FDR from our collective history for he unjustly imprisoned thousands of Japanese Americans for 3 years. If that was not a racist move, I don’t know what is. I’m good with taking down the Southern Cross. It was not the flag of the CSA, but a battle flag that’s subsequent use was for the continuation of the battle, not for honoring the fallen. Honor your fallen with the Stars and Bars, not some battle flag.” — Gene Christensen
“It is fitting for the Yankees to have a fort named to honor Braxton Bragg; after all, Bragg was unquestionably the worst general in the Confederacy. Bragg was a master of retreat and could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He was a political general appointed because of friendship with President Jefferson Davis.” — Dean Allen
“As a noncommissioned officer (30 years) who happens to be black, if any of these men would have captured me in battle, (I certainly would have fought them) they would have put me to death for servile insurrection and they would have put any white officer who commanded me to death for inciting servile insurrection. They fought for a totalitarian regime that was destroyed by the United States military in four years. Why not name our bases Fort Adolf Hitler or Fort Saddam Hussein? When will the Confederacy die and be consigned to the ash heap where it belongs?” — John Burwell
“History is always good. It is evil only when we do not learn from it. Taking stuff down requires much deliberation. ISIS is destroying stuff out of cowardly fear. Let’s not get all that “religious” about these things.” — JBSPuddintane

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