US Army War College considers removing prints depicting Robert E. Lee, Confederate generals
The college is currently conducting an inventory of its paintings and photographs, which feature Confederate generals such as Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. The school plans to re-hang the images later in specific categories to showcase the military’s history, the Washington Times reports.
“There will be change: over the years very fine artwork has been hung with care – but little rationale or overall purpose,” US Army Major General Tony Cucolo, the commandant of the college, said in a statement posted on the school’s website Wednesday afternoon.
“I will… approach our historical narrative with keen awareness and adherence to the seriousness of several things: accurate capture of US military history, good, bad and ugly; a Soldier’s life of selfless service to our Nation; and our collective solemn oath to defend the Constitution of the United States (not a person or a symbol, but a body of ideals),” he added. “Those are the things I will be looking to reinforce with any changes to the artwork.”
But college Spokeswoman Carol Kerr told the newspaper that at least one official -- who was not identified – asked the administration why the school honors generals that were enemies of the U.S. Army.
“There will be a dialogue when we develop the idea of what do we want the hallway to represent,” she said. “[Lee] was certainly not good for the nation. This is the guy we faced on the battlefield whose entire purpose in life was to destroy the nation as it was then conceived. … This is all part of an informed discussion.”
The U.S. Army War College, which opened in Carlisle in 1901 to study the lessons of war, graduates more than 300 officers, foreign students and civilians each year, the Washington Times reports.
Before the college opened, Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Lee and Jackson are both graduates of the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.