Conservatives on TikTok are lamenting the imminent removal of the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) in Virginia, accusing the Defense Department of wasting millions of dollars, destroying history, and “tearing down” the statue.
The Confederate Memorial was erected in the late 19th Century by Confederate veterans associations as they worked to secure burial rights for soldiers who fought on the side of the U.S. South in the Civil War in Arlington National Cemetery, which is operated by the U.S. Army and is where many soldiers who passed fighting for America are interned.
TikToker Link Lauren posted a video criticizing the move, citing the $3 million price tag for the statue’s removal and the idea that tearing the statue down was an affront to history.
“Lloyd Austin … was just in Ukraine, and I guess when he got back he said ‘you know what, let’s pull down some more statues,’” Lauren said.
According to a page about the removal on the Arlington National Cemetery’s website, the bronze elements of the monument will be relocated while the granite base and foundation will stay in the cemetery.
Lauren also compared the removal of the monument to a Satanic statue on display in the Iowa state capitol, asking why it was OK for that statue to stay up but not the Confederate memorial.
A conservative recently beheaded the Iowa statue after taking offense to it.
“What’s really baffling to me is that in the Iowa state capitol recently, they just had a Satanic sculpture up and nobody said a word for weeks. It’s now been pulled down,” Lauren said.
Lauren also said that he acknowledged that America has terrible things in its history, but that “tearing down statues, renaming streets, renaming buildings, trying to rewrite history, that’s not the way to address these problems.”
“Tearing down a statue isn’t going to change anything,” Lauren said. “If we don’t commemorate our history, good, bad, ugly, in-between, then we’re not going to know how not to repeat it. Instead of spending $3 million tearing down this statue, why don’t they invest that money in Black neighborhoods, in Black schools, and actually put it to use?”
According to a Virginia Department of Historic Resources Architectural survey form, the monument was completed in 1914 and dedicated by then-President Woodrow Wilson, the outcome of efforts by Confederate veterans associations to carve out a section of the cemetery, which traditionally holds U.S. military dead, to honor Confederate soldiers. The associations, many of which were led by women, claimed that the memorial was necessary because descendants of Confederate soldiers weren’t being allowed to honor their war dead, though some historians dispute whether this was true, calling many such reports “pure fabrication” and from a “rebel perspective.”
The congressional commission that decided on the removal of the statue as well as other Confederate monuments was convened in 2022 after the murder of George Floyd to discuss ways the U.S. military could try to reckon with its racist history. The main way it recommended doing that was getting rid of statues and changing names of streets and bases to “cleanse” the military of Confederate iconography. The Confederate Memorial at the ANC is the last “significant item” on the list the commission came up with, reported the Washington Post, which broke the news about the statue’s removal.
Former Army bases named after Confederate generals have already been renamed
Another post on TikTok showed an image of a crane in the ANC getting ready to get rid of the monument titled “Biden Administration Removes Reconciliation Monument from Arlington National Cemetery.”
“that’s treason upon the military for a Confederate soldiers are recognized as US soldiers under law by Congress..!!!” commented one user.
“Truly & Wholly DISGUSTING,” said another.
“We need to put all monuments back up in 2025” added a third, referencing one hope for the outcome of a potential victory by former President Donald trump.
The process of removing the statue got underway on Monday, but a legal challenge by a Confederate Veterans’ organization called Defend Arlington halted the removal, with a temporary injunction being issued by Judge Rossie Alston, Jr., a Trump appointee.
The injunction calls for a hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 20, to determine the future of the statue. Defend Arlington’s previous legal challenge to halt the removal of the statue was dismissed last week by a different judge.