Arlington National Cemetery Removing Controversial Confederate Memorial

( – A controversial Confederate memorial was to be removed from Arlington National Cemetery before the end of 2023, but a judge has ordered a delay. The US Army, which operates the cemetery, announced it had conducted an assessment and concluded that its removal “will not have significant environmental impacts.”

The move is part of a broader directive issued by the Department of Defense in 2022 to take down memorials and statues honoring Confederate soldiers as a concession to the Black Lives Matter group that engaged in riots and disorder across the United States in 2020.

Confederate remains were not buried in Arlington until 1902, 35 years after the end of the Civil War. Today, there are more than 400 soldiers buried there.

The statue due for removal depicts a woman wearing a crown of olive leaves and holding a laurel wreath. An inscription at her feet reads, “They have beat their swords into plough-shares and their spears into pruning hooks.” Under the figure of the woman, there are further depictions of a black man going to war and a black woman holding a white baby. Sculptor Moses Ezekiel designed the moment, which was erected in 1914.

On the cemetery’s website, the memorial is described as sanitizing and romanticizing slavery and the Confederacy. The monument is located in a part of the cemetery that overlooks the graves of Confederate soldiers and on the grounds of a former plantation seized by General Robert E. Lee, a Confederate leader.

US District Judge Rossie Alston issued a restraining order to prevent the removal in response to a filing by Defense Arlington, a campaign group that accused the Defense Department of ignoring potential damage to surrounding graves.

In 2021, Congress passed legislation requiring the Defense Department to examine statues and memorials that commemorate the Confederacy across the country. To date, more than 160 structures have been removed or torn down by protestors. Campaigners against the monuments say they are tributes to white supremacy.

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