Patriotic petitioners won a temporary restraining order to stop the removal of an historic monument in Arlington National Cemetery. Liberals were hurriedly trying to get rid of the monument before the first of the year.
A Trump-nominated judge stopped the rushed effort by the U.S. Army. The fight is not over, and no one is certain what will happen if the restraining order doesn’t hold.
Defend Arlington, a group affiliated with Save Southern Heritage Florida, filed a federal lawsuit last month in the District of Columbia, according to Blaze Media. The lawsuit accused the Army, which oversees the cemetery, of violating regulations in an apparent effort to rush the process and get the Reconciliation Monument down by Jan. 1.
The Army is following the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021. Approved by Congress, the act requires the Pentagon to remove “all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America (commonly referred to as the ‘Confederacy’) or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America from all assets of the Department of Defense.”
Finding favor in the court system has been tough for Defend Arlington. A D.C. federal court dismissed the lawsuit last week. The cemetery planned to remove the monument by the end of this week. The group switched tactics and filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
“The removal will desecrate, damage, and likely destroy the Memorial longstanding at ANC as a grave marker and impede the Memorial’s eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places,” the lawsuit reportedly stated.
The cemetery stood its ground and announced that the removal of the Reconciliation Monument, also called the Confederate Memorial, would go forward. The announcement stated that the action complied with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. The removal date was set for Dec. 22.
The cemetery claimed that the area around the memorial would be protected and their would be no impact to grave markers near the “deconstruction.”
U.S. District Judge Rossie Alston, Jr., put a stop to the removal action. He granted Defend Arlington a temporary restraining order on Monday, barring the Pentagon from destroying the 109-year-old monument. The judge’s decision showed that he was concerned that grave sites might be disturbed and he “takes very seriously the representations of officers of the Court.”
“Should the representations in this case be untrue or exaggerated the Court may take appropriate sanctions,” added Alston.
A spokesman for Save Southern Heritage Florida, according to Blaze Media, indicated the Virginia case is stronger than the case dismissed in D.C. thanks to evidence that the removal disturbs grave sites.
Forty Republicans requested in a letter last week that Defense Secretary Austin suspend all removal activities related to the Reconciliation Monument until Congress finalized the budgets for fiscal year 2024. Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) said the monument “does not honor nor commemorate the Confederacy and that it commemorates reconciliation and nation unity.”
Secretary of War William Taft approved the Reconciliation Monument in 1906 and was commissioned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1910. Jewish former Confederate soldier Moses Jacob Ezekiel designed the monument, and it was unveiled in Section 16 of the cemetery by President Woodrow Wilson on June 4, 1914.
- A federal judge temporarily stopped the destruction of a national cemetery monument.
- The Pentagon is working to remove all symbols of the Confederate States of America.
- Defend Arlington pleaded with the judge that the destruction affected military grave sites.
Source: Blaze Media