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OUR OPINION: Confederate names don't belong on U.S. military assets

OUR OPINION: Confederate names don't belong on U.S. military assets


In the wake of George Floyd's May 25 death in Minneapolis and resulting protests across the nation, some prominent figures from America's history are undergoing re-examination through the prism of race.

If reasonable citizens and their local, state and federal leaders pursue this dialogue in careful, deliberate fashion and don't surrender decisions to mobs, the discussion is an overall healthy one for our country.

This doesn't mean we support all efforts to remove or erase every representation of or reference to a historical figure we have watched unfold over the last six weeks. Some of what we have seen and read about amounted to criminal acts; some of it was a rush to judgment; some of it was over the top.

However, our national reflection is producing wise ideas, too. One of them is an overdue proposal to remove names of Confederate Civil War commanders from U.S. military assets, including 10 Army bases.

Provisions attached to Defense Department authorization bills working their way through both chambers of Congress provide for removal of those names (the House bill would mandate those changes within one year; the Senate bill, within three years).

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy have expressed openness to the discussion of a name change for the 10 Army installations bearing the names of Confederate military leaders, Stars and Stripes reported. President Trump, however, said he would veto a bill sent to him with the name change provision included.

"If it came to overriding a veto, we’d probably override the veto," Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told Iowa reporters in response on Monday.

As both chambers of Congress should.

In our minds, this isn't a difficult call. Confederate military officers took up arms and led soldiers in battle in support of the institution of slavery against Union troops wearing and carrying the very flag worn today by America's men and women in uniform and flown today over U.S. military assets, including the aforementioned 10 Army bases.

Their names do not deserve the honor of attachment to the defense of our country.

Our Opinion editorials represent the consensus view of The Sioux City Journal editorial board. Members of the board include: Bruce Miller, editor; Michael Gors, editorial page editor; Dave Dreeszen; managing editor; Tim Hynds, chief photographer.


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