U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is among the 36 Senate Democrats cosponsoring a bill to rename all military facilities that refer to the Confederacy or to individuals who served the Confederate States of America.
“Slavery and the injustices Black Americans face have been with us since before America’s founding and have left an indelible stain on our country’s history,” said Bennet. “It is long past time our country stops honoring those who fought to defend slavery and the Confederacy. This legislation would rightfully require the Department of Defense to remove names, symbols, and other paraphernalia that celebrate our country’s worst instincts from all U.S. military bases and assets.”
The bill gives the U.S. Secretary of Defense one year to eliminate all Confederate monuments and displays, and prohibits all future such displays. The facilities covered include bases, streets, buildings, aircraft, ships, equipment or any other Pentagon-owned property. It would not apply to gravestones.
Initially, the proposal made it into the Senate's version of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, giving a three-year window for removal. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., has indicated that he will attempt to amend the provision out of the bill.
President Donald Trump responded on June 11 to the renaming idea from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., by calling her a racist term and tweeting “Hopefully our great Republican Senators won’t fall for this!”
The New York Times wrote about the 10 military bases across the South named for generals who fought against the United States between 1861-1864. The list includes Fort Bragg in North Carolina, which is the largest Army base, and Fort Lee outside of Richmond, named for the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee.
Colorado, which was not a state until 1876, contains no such facilities. The Washington Post reports that the military named the bases after consultation with local residents, whose support they needed to build the installations.