Wednesday 20 December 2023

Judge Stops Removal Of Civil War Memorial From Arlington National Cemetery

 A federal judge has blocked the removal of a Civil War memorial from Arlington National Cemetery over a lawsuit that says that its removal would damage the graves of the Confederate soldiers buried around the memorial. 

U.S. District Judge Rossie Alston issued a temporary restraining order on Monday stopping the Pentagon’s removal of the Reconciliation Monument, also known as the Confederate Memorial, after the Defend Arlington group sued to stop the memorial’s removal. The memorial was ordered to be removed after Congress created a commission in 2021 to evaluate links to the Confederacy on any federal property. 

Alston’s order blocks “any acts to deconstruct, tear down, remove, or alter the object of this case.”

Defend Arlington has opposed the removal of the memorial, saying that taking it down would be illegal. The memorial was first erected in 1914 in a section of the cemetery meant for Confederate soldiers. 

“The removal will desecrate, damage, and likely destroy the Memorial longstanding at ANC as a grave marker and impede the Memorial’s eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places,” the lawsuit said. 

The monument, which was designed by a prominent Jewish American sculptor named Moses Ezekiel, is at the center of the graves of Confederate soldiers. It was widely seen as a symbol of reconciliation in a war that took the lives of over 600,000 Americans on both sides and left the South in ruins.

The monument references Isaiah 2:4, which talks about turning swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks, a powerful message for a nation recovering from the trauma of war. Up to the present day, many presidents, including Barack Obama, have sent flowers to the monument on Memorial Day.


A group of House Republicans wrote a letter last week to the Pentagon saying that the removal was unnecessary and needlessly divisive. 

“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,” 44 Republicans, led by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), wrote.

“[T]he Reconciliation Monument does not honor nor commemorate the Confederacy; the memorial commemorates reconciliation and national unity.”

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