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Richmond VA Medical Center removes Confederate namesake

Posted at 10:25 AM, Jan 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 15:46:01-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- In an effort to remove the names of Confederate figures from military posts and properties around the country, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it has renamed the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center to the Richmond VA Medical Center.

"VA will continue to serve all Veterans with dignity and respect, at this facility and every facility," U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough said in a statement about the name change.

McGuire was a soldier and doctor in the Confederate Army where he served under Gen. Stonewall Jackson, according to his biography posted on the Hollywood Cemetery website. He later moved to Richmond and helped launched the hospital that become the Medical College of Virginia.

In 2022, an independent commission recommended new names for nine Army posts that now commemorate Confederate officers.

Among their recommendations:

  • Fort Lee, Va. – rename Fort Gregg-Adams after Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams
  • Fort A.P. Hill, Va. – rename Fort Walker after Dr. Mary Walker
  • Fort Pickett, Va. – rename Fort Barfoot after Tech. Sgt. Van T. Barfoot

For years, U.S. military officials defended the naming of bases after Confederate officers. As recently as 2015 the Army argued that the names did not honor the rebel cause but were a gesture of reconciliation with the South.

But in the aftermath of the 2020 murder of George Floyd, and the months of racial unrest that followed, Congress pushed for a comprehensive plan to rename the military posts and hundreds of other federal assets such as roads, buildings, memorials, signs and landmarks that honored rebel leaders.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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