The name of Braxton Bragg is not likely to appear on a list of top Civil War generals. Bragg is considered to be among the least competent officers of the war. He was unpopular with his men and officers, and most of the battles in which he was engaged ended in defeat.
He was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, but when the Civil War began he violated his oath of allegiance to the Constitution and took up arms against his fellow Americans. He was a traitor to his country.
However, in the early 1900s, it was seen fit to name an Army base in North Carolina after him. And since then Black soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg have had to serve their country at a military installation honoring a man who fought for the right to buy and sell their ancestors.
We have thousands of real American heroes who are far more deserving of the honor of having a base named after them. One of them is the East End’s own Garfield Langhorne. A native of Riverhead, Garfield served in the Army during the Vietnam War. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor after he dove onto a live grenade to save the lives of his buddies. He was killed, but his comrades lived to come home.
There is a statue of him near the Riverhead Town Hall. But I think he deserves much more for his selfless sacrifice for his country.
Recently the House of Representatives, as part of a military appropriations bill, voted to replace the name of those U.S. bases honoring Confederate generals. The vote had strong bipartisan support. However, our congressman, Lee Zeldin, not wanting to be seen as disagreeing with his hero Donald Trump, voted against this bill. Apparently, Mr. Zeldin was afraid of getting a mean tweet from the president if he voted to replace the names of Confederate traitors with those of real American heroes.
I urge all readers to contact Mr. Zeldin to ask him to break with Mr. Trump and introduce legislation requiring the Army to honor Medal of Honor recipient Garfield Langhorne by naming Fort Bragg after him. It is the right thing to do.
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One fine body…