A commission was formed in 2021 to consider the removal of Confederate markers at military installations, one item of which is a large plaque installed at West Point that, among a host of images representing American history, depicts the inception of the Ku Klux Klan.
The three plaques depict the people and places of American lore from the Founding Fathers to the Tree of Life. The image of a Klansman holding a rifle is but a fraction of the behemoth installation.
Though it is sure to ruffle many feathers, the Naming Commission, as it is called, determined it has no authority to demand the piece be removed because it is not a Confederate monument.
“This marker falls outside the remit of the Commission; however, there are clearly ties in the KKK to the Confederacy,” the commission wrote.
West Point released a full statement on the matter.
“There is a triptych at the entrance of Bartlett Hall at the U.S. Military Academy that references the history of the United States as told in bronze relief. The artwork was dedicated on June 3, 1965, and has three panels, which measure 11’ X 5’ each. As part of the second panel titled ‘One Nation, Under God, Indivisible,’ there is a small section that shows a Ku Klux Klan member. Among many other symbols, the triptych also includes individuals who were instrumental in shaping principal events of that time, and symbols like the Tree of Life that depicts how our nation has flourished despite its tragedies. The artwork was originally dedicated to West Point graduates who served in World War II and Korea.”
(IMG: The Naming Commission)
Much of the focus of the commission’s dedication to whitewashing history has centered on West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland. Any depictions or statues of Robert E. Lee, for example, are prime targets.
Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade defended Confederate General Lee’s past contributions to the U.S. Army, as the endeavor to rename military posts and bases as well as tear down certain statues has always been a very slippery slope.
“He might be one of our premier military minds,” Kilmeade said of the West Point graduate.
“I think this is a huge problem, and just like Donald Trump told us: ‘When you take confederate statues down, is George Washington next?”
“The answer is yes, Jefferson, Madison, Washington,” Kilmeade added.
“There are calls for West Point to remove dedications of Robert E. Lee from its campus. I mean, come on, outrageous. He was a soldier in the Army.”
Yeah, about that… pic.twitter.com/3CU2qZHRoy
— Eric Kleefeld (@EricKleefeld) August 30, 2022
The commission has recommended the removal of a statue of Lee from the West Point campus as well as an engraved quote by the general that reads, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do.”
“Lee’s armies were responsible for the deaths of more United States Soldiers than practically any other enemy in our nation’s history,” the commission wrote in its report.
U.S. Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) represents the district where West Point is located and told The New York Times he has been an advocate for renaming all manner of things at the academy since 2020.
“We cannot allow bigotry of the past to be perpetuated and celebrated in the same halls that educate our leaders of the future,” he said in a statement. “It is essential that West Point’s campus and culture be one that is welcoming to students of all backgrounds.”
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