American Opinion: Expelling Confederate symbols from the military academy

Heading out are likenesses of Robert E. Lee and a bronze triptych plaque at the Bartlett Hall Science Center depicting a hooded and armed Klansman (he is clearly labeled “Ku Klux Klan”).

A view of West Point Military Academy from across the Hudson River.
A view of West Point Military Academy from across the Hudson River.
Nancy Kennedy/Dreamstime/TNS
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Like everything at West Point, it’s all organized and planned. According to the superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, Lt. Gen. Steve Gilland, while the Corps of Cadets is away this winter break, the beautiful campus overlooking the Hudson is being stripped of its shameful Confederate symbols .

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Heading out are likenesses of Robert E. Lee (including him wearing his Confederate uniform) to a bronze triptych plaque at the Bartlett Hall Science Center depicting a hooded and armed Klansman (he is clearly labeled “Ku Klux Klan”).

When the cadets return from their vacation, the disturbing portrayals will have been properly removed and sent to storage. This is not about sanitizing history. West Point was the focal point of the Union’s heroic effort in defeating the traitorous Confederacy, a slavocracy that tried to destroy the Constitution and caused the bloodiest war ever in American lives, both North and South.

Although a distinguished grad of West Point and later its superintendent, making him Gilland’s predecessor, Lee unforgivingly led a rebellion against this nation and executed a brutal Civil War that killed hundreds of thousands of soldiers of the United States Army who fought to suppress it.

There is no place for Lee in such a place of reverence to our Army. Appropriately, a quote from Lee inscribed at Honor Plaza will be replaced in the spring. Likewise, there will be changes at Reconciliation Plaza.


Lee Road, Beauregard Place and Hardee Place will get new names, as will Lee Barracks, Lee Housing Area and even the Lee Child Development Center.

The Long Gray Line going back to 1802 refers to the gray cadet uniforms and their motto of “Duty, Honor, Country,” not the Confederate colors led by Lee that tried to perpetuate slavery and destroy the Union.

Lee, a masterful military strategist who refused a top command in the Union Army and resigned his commission to instead lead the Army of Northern Virginia, should be studied in West Point’s classrooms, but not saluted on her fields of honor.

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Related Topics: MILITARY
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