Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Arlington National Cemetery is preparing to take down its Confederate Memorial next week — despite pushback from a group of congressional Republicans.

The statue removal comes following a nationwide push to remove Confederate symbols from military institutions following the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.

The decision also ignores a plea from 43 Republican congressmen to the Pentagon asking it withhold efforts to dismantle and remove the statue, also known as the Reconciliation Monument, from Arlington Cemetery.

Safety fencing has already been placed around the monument, which will be removed by Dec. 22, the national cemetery said in a press release.

The surrounding landscape, graves and headstones will be protected while it is taken down.

Virginia’s Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin “disagrees with the Biden administration’s decision to remove” the monument and plans to move it to the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park in the Shenandoah Valley, a spokesperson told Fox News.

The Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery will be taken down by next Friday. wikipedia
The surrounding landscape, graves and headstones will be protected as the Confederate Memorial is removed. Arlington National Cemetery

An independent commission recommended that the memorial be taken down in 2022 as part of its final report to Congress on renaming military bases and other buildings or items celebrating the Confederacy.

Following the report, a congressional mandate called for the removal of all Confederate memorials by Jan. 1, 2024. 

The statue was erected in 1914 and features a bronze woman wearing a crown of olive leaves atop a 32-foot pedestal. 

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said he plans to move the memorial to a Virginia state park. Getty Images

According to Arlington, the woman holds a laurel wreath, a plow stock and a pruning hook, with a biblical inscription at her feet that says: “They have beat their swords into plough-shares and their spears into pruning hooks.”

The memorial includes some controversial figures, such as a black woman depicted as “Mammy” holding the child of a white officer and a slave following his owner to war.

More than 40 House Republicans, led by Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde, wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin accusing the commission of overstepping its authority when it recommended that the monument be removed. 

In the letter, the GOPers claimed the memorial does not honor the Confederacy, but rather celebrates American unity in the wake of the Civil War. They claimed removing the statue would desecrate the graves of Confederate soldiers buried there, Fox News reported.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) led a group of more than 40 House Republicans to keep the memorial in place. Getty Images

“[T]he Reconciliation Monument does not honor nor commemorate the Confederacy; the memorial commemorates reconciliation and national unity,” they wrote.

Arlington said the memorial’s bronze elements will be relocated, while the granite base and foundation will remain in place to avoid disturbing surrounding graves.

Earlier this year, the military renamed North Carolina’s Fort Bragg as Fort Liberty. The base was named in 1918 for Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg, a slave owner.

With Post wires

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