West Point removing 13 Confederate items from campus

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President Obama delivers the commencement address during a graduation and commissioning ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy, Wednesday, May 28, 2014, in West Point, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll) Mike Groll

West Point removing 13 Confederate items from campus

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America’s beloved West Point military academy, one of the oldest universities in the U.S., is removing more than a dozen Confederate items from its campus.

The United States Military Academy at West Point announced on Dec. 19 that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had approved a congressional commission’s recommendation to take down or alter 13 assets and memorabilia across the school’s campus in upstate New York.

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Starting in late December, while students are on break between semesters, West Point will begin removing, storing, and remaking certain items that the Naming Commission had recommended to Congress be reconsidered for their symbolism of, and reference to, the Confederacy.

“Academy leaders and key stakeholders developed a comprehensive plan to ensure that historical artifacts will be professionally and respectfully handled during the execution phase,” the school said in a statement. “Memorabilia removed during this process will be relocated to appropriate sites, including museums or other suitable venues.”

Among the most notable items that will be removed over the next year are a portrait and bust of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee of Virginia. Lee was West Point’s superintendent prior to fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War, which went from 1861 to 1865.

West Point was established in 1802.

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The House and Senate Armed Services Committees created the Naming Commission in 2021 to assign, modify, or remove names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that commemorated the Confederacy or any person associated with the Southern states’ cause.

The commission was also tasked with evaluating items at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

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