Erasing symbols of the Confederacy
By Kristina Dixon | Across Black America
North Carolina’s Fort Bragg, named after Confederate Army Gen. Braxton Bragg, was officially redesignated to Fort Liberty on Friday.
The renaming ceremony was part of a national campaign to change the names of nine U.S. Army installations, as recommended by the Department of Defense’s Naming Commission to erase symbols that commemorate the Confederate States of America.
Last month, the U.S. Army base formerly known as Fort Hood in central Texas was changed to Fort Cavazos and Georgia’s Fort Benning was renamed to Fort Moore. Fort Lee was renamed Fort Gregg-Adams in April, with more changes to come.
While the previously renamed bases were chosen to honor past soldiers or Army families, Fort Liberty was named after no one person.
“Every name was considered, debated. … Ultimately, any of them could have been chosen,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Donahue, the XVIII Airborne Corps’ commanding general. “A consensus could not be reached on just one. How could you choose any and leave any of those others behind? … There was no right name. There were no names that could define what this post is all about.”
Among the names considered by the community team tasked with renaming the base were Medal of Honor recipients past and present, including Sergeant Alvin York and Sergeant Robert J. Miller.
Donahue detailed that names were considered from soldiers from “all legendary tenant units,” including the 82nd Airborne Division, United States Army Special Operations Command, Joint Special Operations Command and 18th Airborne Corps.
The final decision on the new name was inspired when one of the American Gold Star Mothers, Patti Elliot, brought up the theme of liberty.
“The name Liberty honors the heroism, sacrifices, and values of the Soldiers, Service Members, Civilians, and Families who live and serve with this installation,” the press release stated. “We view this as the next chapter in our history and look forward to honoring the stories of our military heroes from every generation and walk of life.”
The three-day event began on May 30 with a sneak peek of the Sunset Liberty March, a new daily march the base will do to honor the “service, sacrifices and legacy of Liberty,” according to the press release.
The Friday event included the casing of the Fort Bragg garrison colors, and uncasing of the Fort Liberty colors, signifying the redesignation of Fort Liberty.
“Liberty has always been here,” Donahue said. “Liberty has always been ingrained in this area.”