Pentagon to remove memorial to Confederate dead from Arlington National Cemetery , GOP lawmakers try to stop it

To remove "the Reconciliation Monument would be a clear affront to the separation of powers principles outlined by our Founding Fathers in our Constitution..."

A group of Republican lawmakers are attempting to stop the Pentagon from taking out a Confederate monument belonging to Arlington National Cemetery.

Led by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), the group of lawmakers penned a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday that demands he leaves the Reconciliation Monument, also known as the Confederate Memorial untouched until at least the conclusion of the fiscal year 2024 appropriations process.

The monument was set to be taken out by the Pentagon’s Naming Commission, a group formed to rename and remove military installations named after the Confederacy. This came in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots, Fox News reports.

"Despite bipartisan support for this monument, the Naming Commission, established by the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, clearly overstepped its legislative authority when it recommended that the Department of the Army remove the Reconciliation Monument from Arlington National Cemetery," the lawmakers wrote.

The Arlington National Cemetery website confirms this removal, with a section stating that "As required by Congress and implemented by the Secretary of Defense, Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) is required to remove the Confederate Memorial located in Section 16 of ANC."

It additionally notes that a "process to prepare for the memorial's careful removal and relocation has been initiated."

Clyde said that the memorial symbolizes American unity after the Civil War rather than bringing honor to the Confederacy, and that its removal would serve to desecrate the graves of Confederate soldiers buried there. 

Calls to remove monuments and statues of American historical figures are nothing new; New York City recently weighed a plot to remove George Washington statues as part of a new ‘reparations’ plan.

"[T]he Reconciliation Monument does not honor nor commemorate the Confederacy; the memorial commemorates reconciliation and national unity," the lawmakers' letter continued.

"Furthermore, the Naming Commission’s authority explicitly prohibits the desecration of grave sites. Considering the hundreds of gravestones encircling the monument, it would be impossible for these graves to remain untouched if the Department of the Army proceeds with its proposed removal of the monument – both being a clear violation of Congress’ enacted statute and legislative intent."

Clyde, who is a Navy combat veteran, penned the letter along with 43 other House Republicans, including Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL).

The plan is for the statue to be moved to a site owned by the Virginia Military Institute, reports Cardinal News

"The Department of Defense must respect Congress’ clear legislative intentions regarding the Naming Commission’s legislative authority, and to move forward with removal of the Reconciliation Monument would be a clear affront to the separation of powers principles outlined by our Founding Fathers in our Constitution," the lawmakers wrote.

The Pentagon currently faces a lawsuit over the statue's planned removal from Defend Arlington, a group that represents Confederate veterans, among others.

Clyde SECDEFLetter Reconciliation-Monument SIGNED by Darian Douraghy on Scribd

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