For John, BLUF: This blog post is different from my letter to The New York Times. Under some rule of law the NYT Declares my letter their property. I can understand them not wanting to publish my letter and then see it show up in The STrib. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Here is the sub-headline:
It is time to rename bases for American heroes — not racist traitors.
From The Old Gray Lady, by the Editorial Board, 23 May 2020.
Here is the lede plus one:
The white supremacist who murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., five years ago dispensed with the fiction that the Confederate battle flag was an innocuous symbol of “Southern pride.” A murderer’s manifesto describing the killings as the start of a race war — combined with photos of the killer brandishing a pistol and a rebel flag — made it impossible to ignore the connection between Confederate ideology and a blood-drenched tradition of racial terrorism that dates back to the mid-19th century in the American South.Fittingly, Memorial Day Weekend saw the publican of this Opinion Piece. Interestingly, Wikipedia suggests the holiday, originally known as Decoration Day, originated in the South.
Outrage over the Charleston massacre forced South Carolina to finally remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds — where it had flown for more than half a century — and led major retailers to drop merchandise bearing Confederate insignia. The National Cathedral in Washington showed how pervasive this iconography had become when it dismantled an elaborate set of stained-glass windows depicting the Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in saintly poses. As the cathedral dean put it, there was no excuse for the nation’s most visible church to celebrate a cause whose primary reason for being was the preservation and extension of slavery in America.
Institutions that could once have wrapped themselves in Confederacy ideology without consequence were put on notice that public sentiment had shifted. The commandant of the United States Marine Corps tacitly deferred to this new reality last month by banning public display of the Confederate flag at Marine installations. Gen. David H. Berger pointed out in a letter to his fellow Marines that the flag was being pushed out because it had “the power to inflame feelings of division” in a military organization that relies on unity to do its work.
I want to make two points. The first is that "base" is not an Army term, and the folks at the NYT Should have known that. It should have been in their Style Guide. Better terms would have been Post or Fort.
My second point is that Union Army Veterans worked hard to bring reconciliation after the war. It started at Appomattox Courthouse, where General Grant passed the word there would be no cheering by Union Troops as the paroled Confederate Soldiers passed by after stacking arms. As General Grant's adjutant, Ely S. Parker, put it, in a response to General Lee "Sir, we are all Americans." It went on for four decades, and then some.
Finally, it was good for this nation, and for peace, that General Robert E Lee wasn't a Bittereinder, a bitter ender. We had enough of that as it was. General Lee's surrender decision likely save thousands of addition lives, Union and Confederate alike.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.
Regards — Cliff