Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press, September 13, 2022
An independent commission is recommending that the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery be dismantled and taken down, as part of its final report to Congress on the renaming of military bases and assets that commemorate the Confederacy.
Panel members on Tuesday rolled out the final list of ships, base roads, buildings and other items that they said should be renamed. But unlike the commission’s recommendations earlier this year laying out new names for nine Army bases, there were no suggested names for the roughly 1,100 assets across the military that bear Confederate names.
Retired Army Brig. Gen. Ty Seidule, vice-chair of the commission, said the final cost for all of its renaming recommendations will be $62,450,030. The total for the latest changes announced Tuesday is $40,957,729, and is included in that amount.
The latest group of assets includes everything from the Arlington memorial, two Navy ships and some Army vessels to street signs, water towers, athletic fields, hospital doors and even decals on recycling bins, according to the panel.
Seidule said the panel determined that the memorial at Arlington was “problematic from top to bottom.” He said the panel recommended that it be entirely removed, with only the granite base remaining.
The statue, unveiled in 1914, features a bronze woman, crowned with olive leaves, standing on a 32-foot pedestal, and was designed to represent the American South. According to Arlington, the woman holds a laurel wreath, a plow stock and a pruning hook, with a Biblical inscription at her feet that says: “They have beat their swords into plough-shares and their spears into pruning hooks.”
The pedestal features 14 shields, engraved with the coats of arms of the 13 Confederate states and Maryland, which didn’t secede or join the Confederacy. Some of the figures also on the statue include a slave woman depicted as “Mammy” holding what is said to be the child of a white officer, and an enslaved man following his owner to war.
And the Latin inscription translates to: “The victorious cause was pleasing to the gods, but the lost cause to Cato,” and was meant to equate the South’s secession to a noble “lost cause.”