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Fort Belvoir is one of several Virginia installations to be visited by the Pentagon's renaming commission this year.

Fort Belvoir is among four U.S. Army installations in Virginia that will be a focus of members of the commission tasked with renaming bases that honor Confederate leaders, according to a release from the Association of the U.S. Army.

Commission members will initially focus on Department of Defense installations as they plan visits over the summer and through the fall to meet with commanders and local leaders, said retired Navy Adm. Michelle Howard, the commission chair.

Fort Belvoir, in southern Fairfax County, has not before come up in the Confederate renaming discussion, but Howard said the commission is taking a broad look.

Belvoir was originally the name of a plantation owned by a British loyalist, Lord Fairfax, on which the post now sits. It was called Fort A.A. Humphreys when it became an Army installation in 1917. But in 1935, it went back to Belvoir at the request of a Virginia congressman who wanted to recognize the historic Belvoir plantation.

The Winchester-area community college named after Lord Fairfax is being renamed in part because he, like many large landowners of his time, owned slaves.

The other Virginia Army posts under review by the commission include Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Lee and Fort Pickett.

The eight-member commission, including two retired Army general officers and a former drill sergeant, was mandated by the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.

The law contains a detailed three-year process for renaming or removing Confederate names from U.S. military installations. Army forts named for Confederate generals have received the most attention, but the law also applies to ships, buildings, streets, parks, monuments or any other display.

As the commission continues its work, each of the services is compiling an inventory of places, streets, buildings, ships, equipment and other items named after someone who voluntarily served in the Confederacy or named to commemorate the Confederacy, Howard said.

It will “take some time” for the services to complete those lists, Howard said, adding that they could contain hundreds of places or items.

Commission members are already receiving letters from the public with suggestions for new installation names, she said. “We’re just keeping track of all the submissions and suggestions and hanging on to those until we get to the part of the process where we’re going to be looking at recommendations for a new name.”

At the conclusion of its work, the commission will develop a renaming plan and process and provide recommended new names, but the final authority lies with the Secretary of Defense, Howard said.

The commission is due to provide an initial update to the Senate and House Armed Services committees by Oct. 1, with a final report due by Oct. 1, 2022, Howard said. The defense secretary must implement the plan by Jan. 1, 2024.

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(26) comments

Mike Geffert

How about we get 100% behind this and force Fairfax County to rename everything...

Linda Davis

I think everyone in this country that has the last name of our Founding Fathers and anyone a part of the Civil War be made to change their last names. We don't want anyone offended by the evil people from the past.

John Dutko

Blacks changed their name after the Civil War.

Tom Fitzpatrick

Once we destroy America, all of the Forts will be renamed after Russian or Chinese generals, anyway.

Linda Davis

Yep. Like we don't have more important things to spend money on like maybe the border and preventing terrorists and deadly drugs from getting in. No it is more important to know what flavor of ice cream someone likes to eat while disgustingly eyeing little girls with barrettes in their hair.

John Dutko

You do realize that the government is comprised of more than one person and can multi-task issues, right?

Hal Donahue

Conservatives and their Russian allies are certainly trying but I don't think they will succeed. For all my 20 years in the military, I could never understand why they would name military bases after traitors, slavers, and losers.

John Dutko

Like the attempted coup on Jan 6th?

ROBERT ARRINGTON

hahahahhahahhahhahahahhahahahahhaha its past being funny what a waste of money so you change the name hpw does it change the past ? ignorance seems petty give the money to the people that needed it

John Dutko

Here we go again...

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Fort_Belvoir

"In 2020, in the wake of the George Floyd protests and petitions to rename U. S. army bases with names related to the Confederacy, it was proposed that the fort be renamed as well. While not named after a Confederate officer, it was renamed after a slave plantation run by a British loyalist. Representative Howard W. Smith, who requested the renaming, was an old-school Southern Democrat who was sympathetic to the then-popular Dunning school of history that revered the Confederacy, and resented a base in Virginia being named after a Union general (A. A. Humphrey). Thus, the name of the base has been criticized as improperly nostalgic for slavery and the antebellum era."

Anyone want to provide a rebuttal and defend the Confederacy?

SL Sims

Why would a rebuttal have to refer to or defend the Confederacy? the name Belvoir comes from a French castle and means beautiful view.

By your logic re Rep Smith, anything and everything named before 1900 should be renamed because 99.999% of the people who did the naming were racists - everywhere, not just in the US.

John Dutko

Hey Sims,

Why don't you go look up why Ft Belvoir had it name changed in the 1930s. We can have an active History lesson and use proper research methodology.

Lynne June

A rebuttal? I wasn’t aware this forum was a debate, just people posting their opinions. For the record, I am not offended by the name of Fort Belvoir and did not know it’s origin as I’m sure many people did not. Does this mean we need to research the name of every place in the US? I think not. I am I can understand why people don’t want the names of Confederate military on places. That was a different country and the people of that country were the ones who defended slavery. History is very complex, though, and the further we get away from primary sources the more it becomes adulterated (remember your statistics courses). Anything Wiki should not be quoted because anyone can edit it and add their own sources. Just the turn of a few words or numbers can alter the meaning of the original citation. Even original citations can be suspect, depending upon the source.

John Dutko

I agree with your take on wiki sources. However, it was the fastest source of information that I could provide with the pertinent data without going overboard. There is a ton of corroborating sources that echo the same facts from that period of the renaming in the 1930s.

As with all of the name changes in the past few years, people on one side of the political spectrum will go up in arms and introduce slippery slope arguments of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, while the other side tries to demonstrably provide and prove the reasons why a change should occur.

As for the actual name of Belvoir, why is it a big deal? Shouldn't it be in line with the naming conventions of other US Army bases where it's named after military person? Kinda like how naval vessels follow a certain naming schema or how helicopters are named after Native American tribes.

Hal Donahue

Interesting history, thanks for commenting

Phil Bellom

The ignorance of the "woke" is destroying this country...There is nothing wrong with the name "Fort Belvoir". I grew up on that base. Born @ DeWitt Army Hospital...Liberals are making me sick to my stomach with their stupidity...Amazing you are so spineless you can't handle words...

Disgusting...

A.B. Herman

It has nothing to do with "liberals." This country can no longer deny the reckoning that is well past due.

A traitorous band of criminals tried to create a new America based on the founding principal that they had the god-given right to kidnap, rape, enslave, subjugate and murder Black people.

They lost.

FAR from deserving to have their names emblazoned across our schools, our streets, our military installations, etc., in service of keeping their rancid Lost Cause alive, they all deserved to hang from the end of a traitor's rope. Every last one of them.

Phil Bellom

Trying to deny the past by hiding the past is a liberal slate..Slavery was and still is atrocious, should have never happened but it did. Name changing changes nothing.

Sounds like the democratic "woke" party is trying to cover up its past by trying to make it disappear...

Good luck with that..

Hal Donahue

No one is hiding the past but rather exposing it. If name changes are meaningless why are you so outraged?

John Dutko

Umm... ok. Enlighten us on the history of Ft. Belvoir. From the beginning.

Janet Smith

Belvoir means "beautiful view" in French. Belvoir Castle is a historic castle in England. Many place names in Virginia are also historic places in England and have no connection with slavery.

Todd Jones

Please don't try to confuse "progressives" with facts.

A.B. Herman

To which "facts" are you referring? Because we can talk about facts.

Fort Belvoir was not just innocuously puttering through history until the supposed Woke Brigade came along throwing their wokeness all over the place. It was a WWI Army installation called Camp A.A. Humphreys, named after a Union Civil War general, which functioned as a post-grad military academy.

Until 1935, that is, when a certain Virginia congressman, a Mr Howard Smith, said "Pleasepleaseplease, Mr Roosevelt, can I rename Camp Humphreys? PLEEEEEEASE???"

Fort Belvoir it was, to honor its legacy as Belvoir Plantation.

Why is any of that important? Well, our illustrious Mr Smith was a virulently racist, unapologetically segregationist, fully-avowed white supremacist who based his entire political career on obstructing each and every piece of Civil Rights legislation that crossed a desk in Virginia politics.

Now, can we think of any reason, any reason at all, an avowed white supremacist would be so dedicated to the cause of honoring Virginia's plantation past?

SL Sims

Until recently, did you know any of this? Was anyone offended by the name "Belvoir" ten wo years ago - five years ago - two years ago?? "Bevloir" offended no one until people decided to make it offensive. Do you have any idea how much it costs to offend people and then unoffend them this way? I guess no price is too high to offend people just so their offense can be corrected.

Martin Geter

SLSims, it must be nice to feel so entitled that you can 1)Tell someone what they should/shouldnt be offended by and 2)Determine for someone what facts they know. Were you born w/ those super powers???

Lynne June

Fort Belvoir’s location does provide a beautiful view.

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