We are Fort Liberty: The renaming of Fort Bragg

We are Fort Liberty: The renaming of Fort Bragg

It was unveiled on Tuesday 24th May 2022 how the name Fort Bragg and the North Carolina base’s memorial and remembrance of the Confederate officer was going to become a matter of the preceding as a result of a long-expected process of public recommendations to rename it to Fort Liberty. Fort Bragg had been named after Gen. Braxton Bragg who served as a Confederate general concomitant to bringing up the rear in battles during the Civil War and being a slave owner. 

The 2021 National Defense Authorization commanded and authorized a commission for the purpose of recognizing assets, including Army installations, which were inclined towards venerating and memorializing the Confederacy. The role of the commission extended towards finalizing the costs of research to be incurred in renaming installations and acquiring mass public input on deciding the new names. Fort Bragg was included in the list of the commission’s nine military installations scheduled and censured for a name change.

The process officially commenced with over 34,000 submissions made to the commission, which were tapered and lessened to 3,670 names. In March 2022, a list of eighty-seven possible names was shortlisted, as quoted by the retired Army Brigadier General Ty Siedule, who was pursuing his role as the vice-chair of the commission. What is interesting to note is that the name Fort Liberty could not make it to the shortlist; however, the commission did give due consideration to the word ‘courage’ as a probable option. In the end, the eight-member panel was successful in reaching a definitive, unanimous conclusion as it finalized the selection of the new name, ‘Fort Liberty’ for ‘Fort Bragg’.

The idea of transforming the names of military confederates to a more contemporary epitome of the present-day values of the US military panel originated from Congress. The federal panel finalized the prodigious step on May 24 for the purpose of eliminating the relics and vestiges of the ‘lost cause’ dogma.

The philosophical belief is essentially the shunned and rather questioned concept that the Confederacy’s insurgence was an upright and noble way of conducting a struggle for the southern modes of life and that what the Confederates termed as the revolt of northern hostility and belligerence was not on the foundations of slavery, but the rights of the states.

It is expected for the secretary of defense to officially implement and put into effect these changes by 2024. What is particularly distinctive to the name-selection approach is how the commission ensured to listen very prudently and warily to local sensitivities. According to the commission’s vice-chair, almost every name that was on the list either stemmed from or reverberated and boomed with the local communities, which proved to be advantageous for the commission to reach their final recommendations.

Fort Bragg has the exception of being the only facility to obtain a recommended new name that is not coupled with a notable figure in military history and is abstract in nature. The other names proposed for facilities are seen to showcase the country’s honor and pride towards military figures including Mary Edwards Walker, Dwight Eisenhower, and Van T. Barfoot. All of these names have had a certain degree of association with the US Army, the Civil War period, or contributions to World War II.

The primary reason for opting for the name ‘Liberty’ is to resonate with the fact that the US Army’s toughest battles of all times have been the ones for liberty, ever since its inception as an institution for the common defense. During the Revolutionary War era, the soldiers of the US army struggled and tousled gallantly for the sake of instituting liberty for the nation. During the Civil War, the US army focused on accomplishing and triumphing liberty for all nations. In addition to this, the contributions of the Army during the Second World War were inclined toward expanding and augmenting the roots of liberty throughout the world.

Hence, Siedule states how the revised name ‘Fort Liberty’ symbolizes and personifies the current Fort Bragg as a key foundation of the Army Special Forces, as well as the Airborne. The review is also done with the aim of remaining synchronous to the motto of ‘freeing the oppressed’ by the Special Forces. The idea of liberty is also profoundly embedded within the roots of the 82nd Airborne Division’s melody which reiterates, ‘We are all American, and proud to be, for we’re the soldiers of liberty.’

Earlier in January 2022, it was also announced by the officials how an abandoned and unrestricted road on the post was likely to become the latest park of the installation, and would be titled the ‘Liberty Park’. The park consists of a walking trail, which is also called the ‘Liberty Trail’.

It is highly probable that the new names would have an extensive and eclectic influence on bases such as the Fort Bragg, which tend to serve as the chief fixtures of the local economy, the local custom, and legacy. It is likely that the rebranding costs would burden the civilians. However, the naming commission stated how it looks forward to discussing the matter with lawmakers, but it would be restricted and partial.

The commission’s proposals are still long overdue for individuals who have anguished over the prevalence of Confederate symbols across the United States of America. The final recommendations proposed by the commission are ambitious toward coming up with names that would inspire the community, soldiers, civilians, and the American nation as a whole.