Editor's Note: Earlier this week, we published an explanatory study of the figures behind 10 U.S. military bases named after Confederate generals. We then turned the question to our readers, asking on Facebook whether they thought--as a growing number of people around the country do--that the bases should be renamed. After receiving an outpouring of reactions both for and against the renaming, we thought we'd share some of the most insightful comments with the rest of our audience. Read on for a selection of those responses.
Should’ve ended a long time ago
"I've been saying that should’ve been changed decades ago. “The Lost Cause” fiction of a South which bears little to the facts- it must end, and it should’ve ended a long time ago. The flag and those who willingly fought under it were traitors to the Union. The symbols, statues and paraphernalia related to it belongs in museums."
--Steven Tamberino, New York, NY
No evidence that the Confederacy wanted to destroy the nation
"Men who fought to destroy our nation"? Or men who fought for the simple right to withdraw and create their own nation? I find no evidence that they wanted the United States to cease to exist and I find no evidence that the Confederacy wanted to annex the northern states.
They DID find it necessary to try to defeat the Union armies on the field of battle, simply to force a peace treaty stating that the United States would recognize and respect the Confederate States and leave them alone. No more economic blockades.
We shouldn't rewrite history. We CAN accurately debate that the South didn't go about it the right way. The way to do it right would have been to step-by-step reverse the procedure in the U.S. Constitution for adding new states. Doing it that way would probably even have gotten a thumbs up from the U.S. Supreme Court. And get diplomatic recognition by other countries, who then might strike treaties of alliance (not Great Britain, though)."
--Randy Treadway, Florida
Rename the forts to real Americans
"They fought and killed Americans. They fought to keep slavery. They fought to beak away the the Union. They were traitors to their country. Rename the forts to real americans who fought for their country....Grant, Sherman Patton, Persing. Their are plenty of better choices. These forts were named during the Jim Crow era of the late 1910's 1920's which was a horrible time for African Americans. How does it feel to be an African American and be stationed at a military post named after a man who tried to keep your family enslaved? Change them now!"
--Jim Hulitt, New Jersey
Up for debate
"Not sure but definitely up for discussion. History is a complex subject, consistently changing and evolving. I wouldn't mind changing it up though. Perhaps rename after those who served their country in different ways: Navajo Code Talkers, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, etc. Some have suggested WWII heroes, which is a nice suggestion too."
--Renee Boyce, Rhode Island
Same league as Benedict Arnold
"Why any of these men are honored either by a statue in the halls of Congress or by having a base named after them is beyond me. For me, all of these individuals are in the same league as Benedict Arnold. I don’t know of any army base named after him – and he was a better soldier than most of the men named in one of your articles.
All of the individuals named in your two articles were traitors, taking up arms against their country. None of them should be honored and that includes Robert E. Lee."
--Norman Tetreault, Massachusetts