Arlington National Cemetery prepares to remove Confederate Memorial despite GOP opposition

Arlington National Cemetery is moving forward with plans to remove its Confederate Memorial, despite pushback from congressional Republicans. The decision comes after a nationwide movement to remove Confederate symbols from military institutions.


Statue removal despite GOP opposition

Arlington National Cemetery is preparing to take down its Confederate Memorial next week, despite opposition from a group of congressional Republicans. The decision to remove the statue, also known as the Reconciliation Monument, comes as part of a nationwide effort to remove Confederate symbols from military institutions in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.

Despite a plea from 43 Republican congressmen to the Pentagon, asking it to withhold efforts to dismantle and remove the statue, Arlington National Cemetery is moving forward with the removal. Safety fencing has already been placed around the monument, and it will be taken down by December 22. Measures will be taken to protect the surrounding landscape, graves, and headstones during the process.

Proposed relocation to Virginia state park

Virginia's Republican Governor, Glenn Youngkin, disagrees with the decision to remove the Confederate Memorial and plans to relocate it to the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park in the Shenandoah Valley.

An independent commission had recommended the removal of the memorial in 2022, as part of its report to Congress on renaming military bases and other items associated with the Confederacy. A congressional mandate followed, calling for the removal of all Confederate memorials by January 1, 2024. The Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery consists of a bronze woman on a 32-foot pedestal, featuring controversial figures depicting a black woman as 'Mammy' and a slave following his owner to war.

GOP opposition and preservation of surrounding area

More than 40 House Republicans led by Georgia Representative Andrew Clyde have opposed the removal of the memorial. They argue that it commemorates reconciliation and national unity, rather than the Confederacy. The Republicans claim that removing the statue would desecrate the graves of Confederate soldiers buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Arlington National Cemetery has stated that while the bronze elements of the memorial will be relocated, the granite base and foundation will remain in place to avoid disturbing the surrounding graves.