Monument Removal in NPS Appropriation—An Update

I reported last month on a House appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior—HR-7608—that would require the National Park Service, within 180 days of enactment, to “remove from display all physical Confederate commemorative works, such as statues, monuments, sculptures, memorials, and plaques, as defined by NPS, Management Policies 2006, 9.6.1.”

On July 24, 2020, the bill passed the House and, on July 30, 2020, was received by the Senate and referred to the Senate’s Appropriations Committee. (You can follow subsequent action on the bill here.)

The appropriations bill has stirred up much controversy in the Civil War community, so I’ve been following its progress closely. Thus far, here’s what I’ve been able to discern from my contacts on Capitol Hill (and yes, as a former journalist, I do have them!):

According to sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the bill as it now stands is D.O.A in the Senate, which has been the case for ALL House appropriations this year. For the first time in 35 years, the Senate hasn’t marked up a single appropriations bill.

With the COVID-19 relief bill sucking up so much political oxygen, the legislative year heading into the home stretch, and an election looming, the current sense on the Hill is that Congress will pass a series of continuing resolutions (CRs) to fund the government at its current levels rather than descend into political wrangling over specific appropriations. As a result, HR-7608 would not get passed.

“This isn’t going anywhere this year,” one source told me. “We are more worried about this coming up again next year, than it going anywhere this year.”

For additional perspective on the issue of monuments on national battlefields, see Gary Gallagher’s editorial for the upcoming issue of Civil War Times, available online now.

 

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35 Responses to Monument Removal in NPS Appropriation—An Update

  1. Tom Pilla says:

    Thanks for keeping us in the loop on this. All I can say is unbelievable.

  2. James Burster says:

    Since these Battlefields are paid for by
    taxpayers from the entire country, I’m
    wondering how certain States can be
    discriminated against?

  3. Diane Mcvey says:

    Why it is essential to keep the Senate Republican take the Senate and keep the White House because you can bet the Democrats will push for this!

    • Dan says:

      I’m not a single-issue voter, so this reasoning is ridiculous in my opinion. Republicans have been miserable failures at governing.

      • Stephen Recker says:

        So, what is the big issue that will cause you to vote to remove all of the monuments? What have the Democrats done that is a miracle of governance that would be worth that?

      • at least we will have a u.s. govt our men and women fought and died for . democrats wish to destroy tell me dan what party sponsored this bill / TAKE OFF YOUR BLINDERS

      • Dan says:

        No blinders here. In fact, I’d say that any person who votes in the upcoming election based only on this legislation which stands little chance of succeeding, are themselves wearing blinders.

        There are way more important things going on in the world. Defenders of confederate monuments should be trying to unite people to their cause, rather than politicize and antagonize.

        I find that the more I read the comments of confederate monument defenders, the less I care if they are taken down.

      • F DESTROYING AND SPRAY PAINTING AND SETTING FIRE TO MUSEUM IS NOT ANTAGONIZE THAT WHAT IS dAN . TRUE HISTORIANS DO NOT TRY TO ERASE HISTORY . BINDERS BACK ON . LOOK UP THE WORD HYPOCRITE . IT FITS .

      • Dan says:

        Thomas, your ranting and name-calling does nothing to convince me.

      • Thomas Place says:

        DAN YOUR SO ONE SIDED AND AND NON COMPRISING , YOU CAN NOT EVEN TELL RANTING AND RAVING FROM THE TEAL THING . YOUR NOT WORTH MY TIME AND FAR FROM A TRUE HISTORIAN . TO PUT DOWN OTHER Americans FOR THEIR BELIEFS IS WRONG AND TOTALLY SELFISH . DONT BELIEVE YOU EVER HAD TO PUT YOUR LIVE ON THE LINE .RATHER HAVE OTHERS DO IT FOR YOU .

      • Whitebreadpicnic says:

        When you lose your constitutional liberties, you’ll figure out it didn’t happen all at once but one single issue at a time. Idiot

      • Whitebreadpicnic says:

        Hey Dan, in case you’re too slow to understand, change happens one item at a time to gaslight dumb ass is. If the shoe fits, stick it where it belongs.
        The loss of our liberties are not one at a time anymore, but our snowballing.

      • Dan says:

        There is absolutely no relationship between “Constitutional Liberties” and confederate monuments in public spaces. This is just White Grievance run amok.

        Keep burning those bridges, gentlemen. You won’t have many allies when the statues continue to be taken down.

      • Thomas Place says:

        Thanks to un Americian people like you

      • Thomas Place says:

        How about black argonace liberal take over its about that not history old blinders Dan

  4. Diana Andrews says:

    We can’t get complacent and just assume it’s DOA. We need to ensure it’s DOA forever.

    • Laurie says:

      Exactly!!! Still write your senators!!

      • Whitebreadpicnic says:

        Benny Thompson is my congressman . He is the only congressman from Mississippi who voted for the elimination(Cancel culture of our history) of Confederate statues In six Battlefield’s in his district . Actually, that makes him not my rep but I cancel culture racist representative. He has actually told me to my face that he does not represent white people but only has people. You can’t make that kind of thing up. Drain the swamp

  5. bobhuddleston says:

    Thanks for the link to Gary’s fine essay on Civil War monuments in battlefields.

    Although not about Confederate monuments on Pakr Service site, you may want to take a look at The Angry Staff Officer Blog, “A Tarnished Legacy: Confederate Battle Honors and the Army National Guard” at https://angrystaffofficer.com/2020/08/03/a-tarnished-legacy-confederate-battle-honors-and-the-army-national-guard/

    • Sean Michael Chick says:

      I wonder if he would agree with Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner that for some serving in a unit with battle streamers that celebrate the defeat of fellow Americans from the South “is a problem.” I have my doubts considering the rest of his content.

      • Sean Michael Chick says:

        I bring this up because I think people such as “Angry Staff Officer” do not understand reconciliation, nor the consequences of the destruction of the reconciliation narrative. Nor does he see that after those streamers are removed, the next step is removing the lineage of those units, even if there is something about being descended from an elite unit such as the Washington Artillery.

  6. William Anderson says:

    I would still write your Senators and tell them you do not support this provision. Such markers, etc., provide important historical context to the battlefield sites and in not way serve to endorse or otherwise support the goals/aims of the Southern Confederacy.

    • I completely agree and I did write my Senators.

      • grego says:

        “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” – George Orwell – “1984”.

        The woke cultists won’t stop. If the democrats win the Senate, the path to a totalitarian state will accelerate.

  7. Donald Smith says:

    The scary thing is—some in Congress really, meaningfully tried to tear down Confederate statues on National Parks. This wasn’t some throwaway provision in an appropriation bill, which they never really intended to try and implement. House members publicly supported it, in media interviews.

    They were serious. They really want the Confederate statues off of Seminary Ridge.

  8. Donald Smith says:

    “The imposing Virginia monument fits squarely within the Lost Cause tradition.”

    As a great-grandson and great-nephew of four Virginia cavalrymen, I (and I’m sure I’m not alone) will vigorously oppose any effort by some “Lost Cause Police” to pass judgement on Confederate statues in national parks. Lee’s statue at Seminary Ridge does not need some “Lost Cause Control Commission approved for public view” stamp on it.

    If Lee’s statue on Seminary Ridge makes you feel unsafe, then don’t visit it. Don’t stop to look at it. Same goes with all the other Confederate statues.

    • grego says:

      i have no Confederate ancestors, but agree 100%. If someone is going to curl up in a ball and cry because they saw a statue of General Lee, then that individual has more serious issues that require professional help.

      • Rev. AE 21-99 says:

        Emotional trauma is real and debilitating.

        Why do you think Nazi symbols are illegal in Germany?

        If we have the privilege if enlightened learning about the South’s war for independence, we must accept our obligation of empathy for those of the color whose human right of equal citizenship was not Jefferson Davis’s goal.

        When hearing complaints about Rebel monuments, we should first ask:

        What do you want from us?

        Only then can fair and equitable negotiations begin.

        Sent from Xfinity Connect Application

  9. Douglas Pauly says:

    The hypocrisy of the ones who want to remove these statues and markers from battlefields is absolutely galling. THEY were the ones demanding that such displays belong exclusively on BATTLEFIELDS and museums. Now those entities are under assault, and you can bank on the KLANtifa mobs a certain political party owns and operates showing up on battlefields to do their mayhem. And in states controlled by that political party the police and authorities will all be ordered to ‘stand down’ and let the rabble and thugs do as they wish, as is happening right now in cities in this country. The shame is that going forward this will always be an ‘issue’ as control of certain bodies of the government change hands. This will NOT go away, it will merely be postponed at best.

  10. Jerry Carrier says:

    This travesty could never pass on its own, especially if the public knew about it. This is why it was buried in a 727-page appropriation for four major federal departments, military construction, and heaven knows how many independent agencies. Most House members probably didn’t even notice it, and shame on them if they did. If you want to write your senators about this — and you should — write electronically to their Web sites. Because of security concerns, postal mail to Congress doesn’t get delivered for at least a month. By then, the damage could be done.

  11. THIS IS A SHAME AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HISTORY . IT IS A POLITICAL AGENDA TO CONTROL OUR COUNTRY . LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD NOT ONLY TO YOUR CONGRESS BUT TO ALL YOU SEE , TOWN, STATE. PUBLIC , NEWSPAPER ETC
    THIS IS NOT THE AMERICAN WAY AND HAS TO COME TO A STOP . I SERVED MY COUNTRY AND WILL NOT SEE IT DESTROYED .
    LET US GET THE NAME AND PARTY {democrat) OUT IN PUBLIC OF THE UN AMERICAN WHO SUPPORTED AND AUTHORED THIS BILL
    THANK YOU CHRIS FOR SHOWING US A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THIS PUBLIC AWARENESS .
    I FOR ONE WILL DEFEND MY TRUE AMERICAN RIGHTS TO MY LAST BREATH .
    CONFEDERATE S ARE AMERICAN VETERANS BY PRESIDENTIAL ORDER OF PRES EISENHOWER [ I BELIEVE 1954 ] SO BE IT . TRUE AMERICANS WOULD NOT DESTROY VETERAN MEMORIALS ,HISTORY, AND MONUMENT
    ANY ONE WHO WILL DISCRETE THAT NEVER FOUGHT FOR FREEDOM

  12. cmthomasco40 says:

    Comments borrowed by another poster from Faebook….but I completely agree with his viewpoint….Nevertheless, I am not fully sympathetic to the Guides for two reasons. First, they were silent while Confederate statues were destroyed and vandalized by mobs and removed by dubiously principled politicians, especially during the last few months. Only when the Guides realized that marker removals at Gettysburg will hit them in the pocketbook did they speak. They understand that fewer Southerners will visit the Park if there are no Confederate memorials. Since Southerners have had a greater interest in the Park than Northerners during my lifetime, the economic impact could be significant. Second, over the past fifty years the interpretations provided by the Park and its Rangers have increasingly demonized the Confederate soldier. No doubt Congress will apply more pressure to amplify that vilification.
    Even though the Guides are supposed to concentrate on troop movements and positions, they have been—at best—silent for decades as the disparagement of the Confederate soldier has grown exponentially. That’s one reason Rebel statues have been vandalized beyond Gettysburg Park. The Guides failed to use their influence to attenuate the unjustified, growing hatred of the Confederate soldier. As the picture above shows, they’ve had plenty of opportunity to moderate public opinion.
    Should the Senate pass the House Bill, voters with Confederate ancestors may wish to urge that Congress sell all of the National Battlefield Parks and use the proceeds to pay down the National Debt. Parks close to Washington, like Manassas and Gettysburg, could command high prices since the ever-growing Federal Government requires progressively more suburban real estate for its well-paid employees. After the Parks are sold further savings can be realized by laying-off workers. Parks that cannot be sold may be allowed to return to nature after Confederate memorials are removed and employees dismissed. It is a better option than letting them remain as wellsprings of anti-Southern propaganda.
    While I applaud those who will encourage the Senate to remove the offending provision in House Bill 7608, those of us with Confederate ancestors have no reason to be sympathetic to the Gettysburg Guides. They let mobs and weather-vane politicians throw us under the bus until their own pocketbooks were threatened.

  13. cmthomasco40 says:

    I have thought for quite a while the Visitors Center at Gettysburg National Military Park or any Civil War National Military Park for that matter is no forum to hash out Causes of the war based on current political winds. Which unfortunately seems to be the case. Unfortunately the changing focus and nature of the NPS’s mission is being revised towards educating the public on the causes of the Civil War. NMPs are battlefields pure and simple….If you want to educate the public on the causes of the conflict the proper place in my opinion is right up the road in Harrisburg at the National Civil War Museum…or fund a Museum in DC to this effect. There Lost Cause Historians and Just Cause Historians can have a forum to fight each other on what the current interpretations of the origins of the conflict and take it away from a National Military Park based on prevailing political winds.

  14. Rev. AE 21-99 says:

    Since the Confederate Arny was fighting against Lincoln’s Lovers of Liberty solely for the lust of owning African slaves, where ever it fought, it was fighting Only for the retention of slaves and the imposition of slave-owning upon free soil communities.

    The demand that Gettysburg remove Rebel monuments needs an addendum-

    Down with the Rebel Army of Slaveocracy, because they invaded the North only to force upon us their excess supply.

    WE WILL NOT BE THEIR SAFTEY VALVE!

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