By Zach Armstrong
PRINCE GEORGE, Va -- Following congress’ override of President Trump’s veto of the defense spending bill, Fort Lee in addition to the Fort Pickett and Fort Hill military bases will be getting new names.
Under Section 370 in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, the Secretary of Defense shall implement a plan within three years that removes all names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia that honor the Confederacy.
The bill also makes the Secretary of Defense create an eight-member commission that is tasked with “assigning, modifying, or removing of names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia to assets of the Department of Defense that commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America.”
One of the main reasons Trump had opposed the bill was for its language that allows for the renaming of military bases that honor Confederate leaders. The president also vetoed the bill because it didn’t limit Twitter and other social media companies which he claimed were biased against his reelection efforts.
In an email, Chris Hughes from the Office of the Secretary of Defense said “the Department of Defense is just beginning to address the requirements in the NDAA and any information is pre-decisional at this time,”
The Fort Lee army base, located in Prince George County, is one of ten bases in the United States that is named after Confederate figures naming itself after US Army Colonel and Confederate States General in Chief Robert E. Lee.
The Fort Pickett army base located near Blackstone, Virginia is named after the United States Army officer and Confederate General George Pickett. The Fort Hill army base located near Bowling Green, Virginia is named after Virginia native and Confederate Lieutenant General A. P. Hill.
Virginia U.S. House Rep. Donald McEachin (D-4th) represents a district with two military bases named after confederate figures and has been among those pushing for the renaming of U.S. army bases also named after confederates.
“We live in a time of change. We live in a time of realization that we need to correct the wrongs of the past, this is just one of those types of wrongs that needs to be corrected,” McEachin said to ABC8, also saying “We shouldn’t be naming military installation after Confederates who at the end of the day tried to tear down the Republic,”
McEachin also told ABC8 that he believes it would be appropriate for the base to be named after Lieutenant General Arthur Gregg who once was stationed at Fort Lee during a segregated post and was the highest-ranking Black officer in the Army by the time he retired.