Military bases across the southern United States are staffed with honorable, hard working men and women who help protect our country and our democracy.
Unfortunately, the bases many serve on have names such as Bragg, Lee, Hood, Benning, Gordon, Hill and Beauregard.
All were named after Confederate generals.
Many of the base names were not given a century or more ago, but in more recent times. One theory as to why so many bases would be named for those who committed treason against our country, to defend slavery, is that the Army needed local support to buy the massive tracts of land needed for southern military bases and locals were given a big say in the naming of these bases.
But finally the names will be coming down.
Congress passed a law ordering that 10 Army posts in southern states be removed. Former President Donald Trump vetoed the bill, but a large bipartisan majority quickly overrode the veto.
A Naming Commission has been accepting nominations from the public for new names for the bases, which must be changed by 2024. The public has until Dec. 1 to pitch names they think would be best for the bases. To pitch a name, visit thenamingcommission.gov.
There have been no shortage of new and better names for the bases, many of which are still tied to the area’s history and heritage.
In Texas, for example, new potential names for Fort Hood include Medal of Honor winner Staff Sgt. Roy Benavidez and Gen. Richard Cavazos, the first Hispanic four-star general.
Other local residents and leaders have offered a variety of potential names to replace the Confederate names, including many soldiers of color.
While the current focus is on the 10 U.S. Army bases, the need to remove Confederate names and statues must continue. And while the south is the obvious focus of much of the debate over names, we in the north are moving through our own process of evaluating place names that honor pro-slavery men or those who committed atrocities against Native Americans.
Ditching the Confederate base names can’t come soon enough. There are more than enough true heroes in the country deserving of having their names on our major military bases.