Saturday, 26 September 2020

Thompson, Military Veterans Caucus ask defense secretary to rename military bases bearing names of Confederate leaders

WASHINGTON, DC – On Thursday, Co-Chair of the Military Veterans Caucus Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) led a bipartisan group of 8 Members of the Military Veterans Caucus in a letter asking Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to develop a plan to rename military bases currently named after Confederate leaders.

The letter was signed by Representatives Bobby L. Rush (IL-01), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Don Bacon (NE-02), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Conor Lamb (PA-17), Jason Crow (CO-06), and Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06).

Thompson led a similar letter asking for these military installations to be renamed in August 2017. A copy of the letter is below.

June 11, 2020

The Honorable Mark T. Esper
Secretary of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Secretary Esper:

Our Nation is represented by heroes who have enriched our history, protected our democracy, and maintained our role as the world’s greatest superpower. To commemorate their contributions, many of our military installations rightfully bear their names. By selecting to honor their deeds and actions, we state our National values: equality, selflessness, bravery, and heroism.

Unfortunately, several of our installations bear the name of figures who fought against our Nation as part of the Confederacy. These designations only serve to promote a dark and divisive time in our history and do not uphold the best of our country.

We are encouraged by the Army’s recent statement that you and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy are open to a discussion on renaming the service’s 10 bases and facilities named after Confederate leaders. In your role as Secretary, we ask that you begin a process to reevaluate the naming of these installations and develop a plan to rename them to better honor the true spirit of our Nation. We commit to work with you to ensure you have any resources necessary.

Like you, we are saddened by the death of George Floyd and countless others. And each of us is examining how we can do more and do better to end longstanding, systemic inequities. Together, we can take this one step to ensure that we, as a Nation, in no way endorse hate or divisiveness.

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