Posted on August 15, 2023

Arlington National Cemetery Wants to Know What You Think About Removing Its Confederate Memorial

Blake Stilwell,, August 10, 2023

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson unveiled the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Created by Confederate veteran Moses Jacob Ezekiel, the 32-foot-tall monument features a large bronze statue of a woman holding a laurel wreath, a plow stock and a pruning hook, representing “the South,” atop a granite base.

On that base is the Biblical verse,” And they shall beat their swords into plough-shares and their spears into pruning hooks.” It also features images from both mythology and those of Southern soldiers and civilians. These include a Black slave woman holding a white soldier’s baby, along with a life-size image of an enslaved man following his owner off to war, among others.

“The elaborately designed monument offers a nostalgic, mythologized vision of the Confederacy, including highly sanitized depictions of slavery,” according to the Arlington National Cemetery website.

In 2021, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which included a provision for the creation of the Naming Commission, which directs the defense secretary to “remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America … or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America from all assets of the Department of Defense.”

As part of that provision, Arlington National Cemetery is preparing to remove the Confederate Memorial, which sits at the center of the cemetery’s Confederate section. For the next 30 days, the cemetery is soliciting comments from the public as a part of that process.

Arlington National Cemetery was established during the Civil War, on the land confiscated from Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee {snip}


Though lawsuits to prevent its relocation are ongoing, the cemetery is already planning for that relocation, but is inviting the public to provide feedback on “alternatives that will avoid, minimize or mitigate adverse effects of the monument’s removal.”


To submit a comment to Arlington National Cemetery’s Confederate Memorial Removal Environmental Impact Statement, visit the website and fill out the electronic form by 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 2, 2023.