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

The commission charged with renaming military bases that honor the Confederacy said it is uncertain whether Fort Belvoir will fall within its jurisdiction, its chair told InsideNoVa.

The commission has asked for additional historical study regarding the naming of the U.S. Army installation in southern Fairfax County, said Navy Admiral Michelle Howard, the chair.

After briefing House and Senate Armed Services Committee staffers this week, Howard told InsideNoVa that the commission has to determine which installations commemorate the Confederacy. At first glance, Howard said Belvoir was just named after a slave plantation of Lord Fairfax, but there’s more to it than that, because it was renamed from its original designation.

“It was originally Camp Humphreys, named after a Union general, and then it's not until 1935 that there's this name change,” Howard said. “So, the commission has hired an historian, and we've made a trip to Fort Belvoir, and we're looking into why was the name changed? Is this new name, ‘Fort Belvoir,’ actually a reflection of a decision to honor the Confederacy? And so our historian has made contact with local historians, and so we're looking into that.”

If the commission determines there’s not hard evidence that indicates that was part of the thought process, “then we'll say, ‘Hey, it's outside the remit of the commission,’” Howard said. She added that if historical evidence indicates it was an attempt to commemorate the Confederacy, then the commission will probably determine that renaming the base is within its purview.

The congressional commission is charged with providing recommendations for the removal or renaming of bases, ships and other Department of Defense assets that commemorate the Confederacy, or those who voluntarily served with the Confederacy.

Less in doubt are the other Virginia bases that are solidly in line for renaming: Fort A.P. Hill south of Fredericksburg, Fort Lee in Petersburg, and Fort Pickett in southside Virginia, all of which were named after soldiers who served in the Confederacy.

Howard said the commission has already conducted site visits, meeting with military, civilian and community stakeholders at Belvoir, Fort Lee and Fort A.P. Hill. She added that the most critical part of the effort has been listening to those with strong ties to the installations.

“We have heard directly from local chambers of commerce, historical genealogy societies, Rotary clubs, school board officials, local/national special interest groups, church leaders, business and many other organizations,” Howard said. “And on top of that we’ve met with individual active duty, reserve, retired, and other former service members with their families and neighbors and local communities.”

Howard said she hopes the commission will finish its site visits by the end of November.

Citizens are already making suggestions to the commission through its website. Howard said in just the first two weeks, the commission received more than 25,000 suggested names. The commission will continue to accept names through Dec. 1.

She said she is pleased with the diversity of suggested names.

“From what we’ve received from the communities and the website, the naming suggestions represent America,” Howard said. “There’s women, there’s people of color, some of the suggestions highlight people of lesser-known religious faiths. I think the hard part for the commission is going to be picking from the list.”

Paul Lara covers the military beat. Reach him at plara@insidenova.com

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(37) comments

Catherine Simmons

Marie El, a word to the wise, don't even try to reason with these people on here. They only want to go on the attack if you have a different opinion from them especially if you have a female name, believe me I have learned that. These people troll Insidenova just to find something to insult others about. Don't waste your time. The Juice isn't worth the squeeze even though you are exactly right on everything you posted. Be ready for the attacks as they will be forthcoming. Stay away from the racist ones like Larry Lyons and others on here. They seem to have a real chip on their shoulders. Keep up your good work on the real history not the history these people on here makeup as they go along.

John Dutko

Yet you never cite anything.

Kermit Robat

Considering that while he was Vice President, old Joe eulogized a former klansman in 2010, the late Democrat Senator, Robert Byrd, I think we can assume Fort Biden isn't in the running.

Larry Lyons

And Senator Byrd recanted his earlier behavior and spent the last few years of his life trying to make up for it. Name one Confederate who did the same...

We'll wait.

... (thought so.)

Kermit Robat

Robert Byrd got his start in politics when his organizing skills were recognized after he created his own chapter of the KKK. The level of hate he must of had is not something that you are simply allowed to recant. He was chosen by the Democrat Senate majority to be Senator Pro Tem and fourth in line to the Presidency during Barack Obama's first term. And then he was eulogized by the sitting Vice President (Joe Biden). Neither honor should ever have been bestowed upon a former klansman.

Marie El

Agree. It’s unbelievable how Byrd and other democrats can apologize for comments or affiliations they have had in the past, but conservatives are “canceled”. People can absolutely change and be redeemed. ALL people, but this country now is being controlled by the loudest and most violent. Sad times. I wonder what children will actually learn about this era in time, if they do at all. Byrd should not be recognized, if Lee or Pickett or any other person of history can not be.

Catherine Simmons

Ok now that the usual mouths are on here blathering with something they know nothing about, I had to chime in. Are you people joking or just uninformed? You just seem to want to erase anything & everything that is our history, the good the bad and the ugly, You can't erase history but you can learn from it. Belvoir was the name of a House not a person. Yes it was own by Lord Fairfax and yes it was a plantation but by your analogy you will have to change the City of Fairfax, the County of Fairfax, the City and County of Culpeper, City of Winchester (their guns killed a lot of people) Madison County, Loudoun County, Lee County and it goes on and on. What do you really want a State with nothing and no names but the ones that suit you and your beliefs? There are people who have beliefs other than yours and their ancestry counts too. You complainers on here really need a hobby or something to keep yourselves occupied and being on here seems to be your lot in life. You know the old saying if you don't have a solution you are part of the problem. Oh I'm sure the attacks on my post will begin they always do. Have a nice evening.

Burt McGirtt

It's not erasing history it's taking the names of traitors off of things that should be named after better people. No one is saying to not learn our collective history or not speak of events.

Marie El

You are right about saying states with no names. I didn’t think about this, but maybe that’s their first steps to their “One World Government.”

These people on here don’t know their history. First off they need to look to the recent past of the Nazis. Germany took down a lot of places that would be a reminder of this horrific past. They wanted to forgotten. Now they are trying to raise money to put these places back as they were. They now see that the best way to educate, so this doesn’t happen again, is to be able to walk these sites and learn the horrific stories that took place. It’s better to actually be able to visualize than learn from a book or a museum. These sites make it real.

Lastly, Lee was against slavery and was actually on the side of the Union. He turned down the job of leading the Confederacy, until he saw the Union decimating his beloved Virginia. He saw his fellow Virginia’s being killed or attacked and their farms and homes destroyed. People who were not even taking sides, they just wanted to live their lives. He thought that if the Federal Government would do this to their fellow Americans, what won’t they do. Ultimately this affected his decision to fight. He believed that states have rights to choose their business. Not slavery though, he was against slavery.

One other point from the above about Byrd. It’s interesting how he can “apologize” for his klan membership. It seems only Dems can apologize and be forgiven. No one else.

Larry Lyons

Lee was against slavery? Um again no. He inherited 12 from his mother, and bought and sold others, according to historical record. Moreover there are cases where he was personally involved in the beating of an escaped pair of slaves, and him later selling the man to markets in Louisiana. But nice try at revisionism. What's next? The victims at Fort Pillow were all "Crisis Actors"?

Larry Lyons

Given the history of these names, I am surprised that those on the right wing don't want to rename the place Ft. Joachim Peiper. After all he killed fewer Americans than A. P. Hill or George Pickett, yet we honour those traitors.

Burt McGirtt

Funny how people are upset that they're erasing the names of people who wanted to destroy the United States to own slaves. They probably think the Civil War was because of sweet tea and manners.

Joe Christmas

None of them wanted to "destroy the United States to own slaves". Soldiers fought the Union because the Union attacked them.

Larry Lyons

Wrong it was over slavery. See my prior comments. Try reading the documents of secession. Georgia for instance makes slavery the prime, and almost exclusive reason. same with Texas, South Carolina and Alabama. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states

Marie El

Exactly. Lee was against slavery. He fought because he saw what the Union was doing to his fellow Virginians who weren’t in the fight. They were just living their lives. They didn’t take a side. He actually was on the Union side and turned down the offer to lead the Confederacy several times.

John Dutko

Yet… he fought to preserve the economic institution of slavery.

If the CSA won, would slavery be the law of the land?

Larry Lyons

You do know why the Confederate states separated? It definitely wasn't over State's rights. If you read the documents of secession Slavery is mentioned far more prominently. The only time States Rights are mentioned is specifically in reference to Slavery. For instance in the Georgia document of secession, Slavery is mentioned over 30 times. States Rights only a few times, see https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states. But hey them's facts, something you neo-confederates seem to have a lot of issues with.

ROBERT ARRINGTON

cant they spend money on something else

Lon G Johnson

Fort fill in the blank! Everybody or nobody is happy but everyone gets a trophy…or Fort Woke because some names are scary!

Larry Lyons

Given your comment I am sure you'd be OK with statues to Hitler and Osama Bin Laden across from a synagogue. After all it is the same intent.

Lon G Johnson

Your assumptions and generalizations show that you and your ilk paint everyone with a broad brush. Go hide little man, you are scaring yourself!

Larry Lyons

You're the one whining about Woke etc. How is that not stereotyping and "painting everyone with a broad brush." So you'd be ok using your reasoning with statues of Hitler being placed across the street from a synagogue.

Larry Lyons

Sl Lon I guess you'd be OK with naming the place Ft Joachim Peiper. After all he killed far more Americans than either George Picket or A. P. Hill.

Marie El

We are doomed with these young people scared of EVERYTHING. I guess that’s why the military is scared of climate change more than any other threat like terrorists or China.

Santos Halper

My vote is for Forty McFortFace.

Harry Morant

My vote if Fort St. George Floyd! Why not honor Fairfax County with a military facility named after one of the most outstanding Citizens this Country has ever seen.

ROBERT ARRINGTON

hhha ahahahahhaah i like it

Larry Lyons

How about General Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. He was the First African American general officer in the Active-Duty Army in the U.S. Army. It seems appropriate given the number of bases named after Confederate generals - more than a few who were pretty incompetent.

Catherine Simmons

Oh no you are not serious about your post are you? Ft. St. George Floyd? A meth ridden drug addict? Com On Man get a grip. You all on here are hopeless. You people had better be worried about this Country and who is coming in it. Soon we will be a People without a Country but you all would rather complain about names of Forts, roads and cities and you don't even have that right. The one thing Trump was right about was when he said " You can't have a Country without having boarders" Let us all stop the attacks about names and start figuring out that our Country is being taken out from under us and that includes all American's. Sounds like to me we are going backwards not forwards when we are telling our children to hate because of the color of their skin. Boy what do you do with a biracial family? One of the parents is the oppressor and the other is the oppressed. You talk about confusion well your going to get it and our children will suffer.

Larry Lyons

It would be a good idea for you to watch something else other than OAN or Fox News. But hey that won't happen, after all your wingnuts have your own faux reality.

Catherine Simmons

A word to the wise on this post, don't bother getting into any kind of conversation with Larry Lyons as he only has one opinion that matters and that is his. He is never willing to discuss different views. So don't waste any time with this person. If you disagree with him he goes on the racist attack. He thinks he is all knowledgeable on all things and everybody else is stupid. Have a Happy Christopher Columbus Day tomorrow!!

Marie El

How about you try watching those channels. You may be on the side of the liberals they have on their shows, but at least you can hear both sides so you know where each side stand.

Catherine Simmons

Do us all a favor, get off of here if you have nothing constructive to say. You are just a bitter person with no grip on reality much less knowledge of history. Thank you

Marie El

Exactly right except I think Floyd was on Meth and Heroin. He was not a good upstanding citizen. He stuck his illegal gun to a pregnant woman’s head. NO he should not have his name anywhere. He died doing bad things. That’s what put him in the situation to begin with. Sad the way he died, but no he was not a good person.

Lastly, they don’t want borders because they want a “One World Government”. Obama started that when he was talking about North and South America being one. That was his start of this whole mess.

Marie El

Seriously! A drug addicted person who stuck a gun to the head of a pregnant woman. Sorry that he died the way he did, but NO!

Hal Donahue

Restore the name to the original Union general or one of Lee's Virginian peers who honored their oath and remained loyal to the union is my thought

Larry Lyons

Such as George Henry Thomas, aka the the Rock of Chickamauga perhaps?

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