Created by the fiscal 2021 national defense authorization act, the Naming Commission’s duties included recommending procedures for renaming Department of Defense assets “to prevent commemoration of the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily” with them.
Its “Reconciliation Plaza” has begun to be dismantled and will soon be altered beyond recognition. The plaza, consisting of stone “markers” arranged on the academy’s grounds, was presented by the West Point Class of 1961 on the occasion of their fortieth reunion in 2001. Exactly a century prior to the 1961 members of the Long Gray Line, the school graduated two classes in 1861 – one in May, the other in June. Graduates served in both the Northern and Southern armies.
The precise purpose of Reconciliation Plaza was to “commemorate the reconciliation between North and South and dedicate this memorial to our classmates who died in service to our nation” [emphasis added]. The latter intent was traditional at military schools (including my alma mater, the Virginia Military Institute), and was non-controversial.