When pictures of Dylann Roof holding the Confederate Flag were uncovered, the South’s history during the Civil War was brought back to the forefront.
“The Confederacy itself was basically the slave owner’s vision of a good country. A country that rested as their Vice President said on the corner stone of slavery as an institution on a basic racial inequality,” said John Hayes, Assistant Professor of History at Georgia Regents University.
Hayes says there are three parts of history with different meanings that surround the Confederacy. The Confederacy in the 1860s, the commemoration of the Confederacy, and the last occurred during the 50s and 60s.
“There’s another wave of commemoration and use of confederate symbols. That’s when Georgia changed its flag to display more of the Confederate battle insignia. That’s when the flag was raised at the South Carolina state house,” Hayes told News Channel 6.
Only a portion of Americans can relate to figures and symbols of the Civil War era, yet we still have memorials named after these leaders. Re-established as Fort Gordon on March 21, 1956, Camp Gordon was named after Lieutenant John Brown Gordon.
“Let’s keep in mind, these are people who led… you know were officers leading a rebellion against the USA. It’s always seemed very odd to me that we have US bases named for people that, didn’t just live in the South, but were leaders in an armed rebellions against the USA,” said Hayes.
Army Chief of Public Affairs Brigadier General Malcolm B. Frost released a statement on behalf of the Army “Every Army installation is named for a soldier who holds a place in our military history. Accordingly, these historic names represent individuals, not causes or ideologies. It should be noted that the naming occurred in the spirit of reconciliation, not division.”
“Public space does matter and the symbols that are in our public spaces are meaningful,” said Hayes.
The decision to change the name of a base is up to individual military services and not the Defense Department. Pentagon Spokesman Col. Steve Warren said on Wednesday there was currently no talk about renaming any military installations.