Why does the United States honor former military enemies?
An article I read the other day that mentioned Fort Lee, Va., reminded me of a complaint I made a few years ago about the fact that some U.S. military facilities are named for men who fought against the U.S. Army.
Fort Lee is named for Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, a man who, according to historians, was responsible for killing more U.S. soldiers in the Civil War than Hitler and Tojo did in World War II. Lee was an enemy of the United States. He fought in defense of slavery. At the outset of the Civil War, he declined Abraham Lincoln’s offer to make him the commander of Union forces and opted instead to fight for the Confederacy.
For all his vaunted leadership skills, Lee was a traitor to the Union cause. He was an enemy of the United States. Yet there’s a U.S. Army facility in Virginia named for him.
Fort Hood in Texas is similarly named for a Confederate hero, John Bell Hood.
And then there’s Fort Gordon in Georgia, which is named for John B. Gordon, one of Lee’s commanders and an outspoken defender of slavery. After the war. Gordon became a U.S. Senator and headed the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia.
There are now at least 10 U.S. Army facilities named for generals who led Confederate troops in battles against Union soldiers. These rebel heroes had the blood of good and loyal Americans on their hands. And our government honored them by naming military facilities after them.
Why do the so-called patriots among us who act as self-appointed guardians of the flag and promote respect for our military veterans rarely, if ever, raise a fuss about the Army facilities named for the nation’s enemies?