Many New York officials are requesting the United States Military Academy at West Point to remove confederate symbols.

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On Thursday, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) wrote to Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense, and Ryan McCarthy, Secretary of the Army, requesting the removal of any symbols or buildings honoring Confederate officers at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and the renaming of any buildings named in their honor.

“West Point is a globally revered institution – and as such, should be as inclusive and welcoming as possible to our cadets, servicemembers and West Point visitors. Honoring Americans who engaged in armed rebellion against the United States in support of racism and slavery does not reflect the values of the institution or our Army,” Maloney said in a press release. “As a past member of the Board of Visitors and proud Representative for West Point and the Hudson Valley, I have a deep reverence for West Point and the West Point mission. Any symbol or building named to honor the Confederacy and its hateful rhetoric falls short of the institution’s principles and should be removed or renamed immediately.”

Recently, Marine and Navy leadership have announced bans on the public display of the Confederate battle flag on Marine installations. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy have expressed their support for renaming military bases named after Confederate Generals, officials say. Elected officials in states across the South have recently removed Confederate monuments.

The letter was co-signed by Reps. Tom Suozzi (NY-3), Kathleen Rice (NY-4), Gregory Meeks (NY-5), Grace Meng (NY-6), Nydia Velazquez (NY-7), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8), Yvette Clarke (NY-9), Max Rose (NY-11), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Joseph Morelle (NY-25), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Danny Davis (IL-7), Bill Foster (IL-11), Stephen Lynch (MA-8), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Joyce Beatty (OH-3), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-2) and Rep. James McGovern (MA-2).

The full letter is below:

Mark T. Esper
Secretary of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Ryan D. McCarthy
Secretary of the Army
101 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310

Dear Secretary Esper and Secretary McCarthy:

As members of Congress we are proud of the history and reputation of the United States Military Academy (“USMA” or “West Point”). It is because of that deep respect for the school and its mission, we believe we must correct the hurtful and outdated practice of honoring at West Point certain Americans who engaged in armed rebellion against the United States in support of racism and slavery. Today, there are a variety of USMA buildings and facilities named after Confederate generals and others who betrayed their Country during the Civil War. This should not be.

In recent days, Marine Corps Commandant General David Berger and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday have both announced bans on the public display of the Confederate battle flag on Marine installations. Additionally, elected officials in Florida, Alabama, Indiana, and Kentucky have removed confederate monuments, including Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who ordered the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from the capitol in Richmond.

It goes without saying that we have the utmost respect for the work that you do, developing leaders of character, with a passion for service to our country. Included in these outstanding cadets are Black men and women ready to serve and we owe it to them to ensure that their learning and training environment is as welcoming and inclusive as possible. It is past time we make these changes that will move our country in the direction towards healing and reconciliation.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and we look forward to assisting you in whatever fashion possible to remove these negative symbols from this revered institution.

Sincerely,

Sean Patrick Maloney
Member of Congress

CC: Lieutenant General Darryl A. Williams
Superintendent
United States Military Academy
606 Thayer Road,
West Point, NY 10996