Military bases should not be renamed, we must move forward in the spirit of reconciliation
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There are nearly 800 American military installations in the world. Ten of them are named after Confederate generals:

Fort Benning, Ga. - 1918

Fort Bragg, N.C. - 1918

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Fort Hood, Texas - 1942

Fort Lee, Va. - 1917

Fort Rucker – Ala. - 1942

Fort Gordon, Ga. - 1941

Fort Pickett, Va. - 1942

Fort Polk, La. - 1941

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Camp Beauregard, La. - 1917

Fort A.P. Hill, Va. - 1941

Some of these bases are being targeted for renaming after more than a hundred years of tradition and history. Unfortunately, those calling for these changes seem to have forgotten that America honors even those who dissent – an ironic fact considering that the social unrest currently challenging our nation is caused by those exercising their right to dissent.

Many American soldiers of all races hold these bases dear. The history and traditions established and still alive on these bases mean far more than the long-dead generals for whom they were named. They are today associated with the men and women who have served, trained, and shipped out from these bases to fight and die in places like Belleau Wood, Ardennes, Tunisia, Normandy, Okinawa, Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh, Hue, Kamdesh, Fallujah, Ramadi and many others.

I served on several of these military bases alongside soldiers representing every race, culture, ethnicity and creed. All of us served as equals in defense of this great country. Many other generations have done the same. I went to airborne training at Ft. Benning, Ga., in 1969. My son went through the same training at Ft. Benning 27 years later. Neither my son nor I even knew at the time that it was named after a Confederate general. The honor for my son and me was to train in the same storied place and in the same proud tradition that so many other U.S. soldiers had done before through World War I, World War II, Korea, Viet Nam and the War on Terror. Through a century of hallowed service to our country’s defense, the name Fort Benning has become legendary. It is the same with the remaining nine bases.

Army officials have said these base names were chosen in the spirit of reconciliation, not division, as an affirmation that even in our differences, we were all Americans. In that same spirit of reconciliation, the father of our present-day Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet New postmaster general overhauls USPS leadership amid probe into mail delays MORE (D-Calif.), at the official dedication of the Generals Lee and Jackson Monument as mayor of Baltimore expressed the sentiments:

“World Wars I and II found the North and South fighting for a common cause, and the generalship and military science displayed by these two great men in the War between the States lived on and were applied in the military plans of our nation in Europe and the Pacific areas. Today with our nation beset by subversive groups and propaganda which seeks to destroy our national unity, we can look for inspiration to the lives of Lee and Jackson.”

Those proposing the name change of these bases do not even understand the significance of using these names. When he dedicated the bloodiest battleground of the Civil War in the Gettysburg address, President Lincoln spoke of “the great task remaining before us.” Naming these locations after those who served the Confederacy helped demonstrate that this is still one country - united, even after our division during four terrible years of Civil War that saw the loss of nearly 700,000 Americans.

It is for that reason I will never support the renaming of military bases or the rewriting and erasing of American history. I pray that we will go forward dedicated to the spirit of reconciliation found in the words of Nancy Pelosi’s father and focused on the duty of “the great task remaining before us” found in the words of Abraham Lincoln.

Brian Babin represents the 36th District of Texas.