“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” – George Orwell, 1984

What could you do with 8 million dollars? Buy a new car? Make some home improvements? Pick up that cool watch you’ve had your eye on for some time? All of the above?

“The Party,” the government, sure knows what to do with it. They are altering history.

Eight million dollars is real money. Hell, the US purchased the entire land mass that is now the state of Alaska for less than that. Granted, that was a few years ago, but still.

Colonel John Wilcox, the incoming FT. Bragg garrison commander tells us that the name change will cost the US taxpayers around $8 million dollars. That’s eight million bucks we could be putting toward something else. For all we knew, we’re only 8 million bucks short of finding a cure for cancer. But I digress.

My point is that the name change is totally unnecessary and a massive waste of money. Yes, I’m a bit biased. I cut my Army chops at Fort Bragg, sleeping with my head up against trees in the piney woods and picking ticks off my body by the hundreds. Good times. It’s where I learned and honed the fine art of soldiering. The same is true for hundreds of thousands of other American soldiers over the years, be they SOF or conventional forces. Airborne or leg. Bragg will always be Bragg; I’m not calling it the “L” word.

And it’s not because I have any enormous love for the Confederate general it was named after.

A Bit of History

Way back in 1918, the current Fort Liberty (dammit, that didn’t last long) was named after Confederate General Braxton Bragg. Full disclosure: I did not know that until the whole “We better change the names of these bases” mess came about. Why? I didn’t care who it was named after. It doesn’t matter.

Let’s look at the name of the guy running the place now…Wilcox. OMG, you know what I found? This other guy named Wilcox. Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox, a CONFEDERATE general.

Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox, a West Point grad who turned on his nation. Image from the Library of Congress

I could not discover if General C.M. Wilcox owned slaves or not, but he did move in with his brother’s widow and their kids after his brother was killed in the Civil War. Make of that what you will while everyone is being judge-y. I didn’t do a search on ancestry.com, but chances are that General Wilcox is in no way related to today’s Colonel Wilcox. But what does that matter? They both have the same name, right? By current governmental logic, we should make him change his name to something a little less offensive.

What do you think about that, Colonel Liberty? Kind of has a nice superheroish vibe to it. I’d say it’s a winner.

Two Braggs

I did a bit more digging and discovered another gentleman by the name of Bragg. George Freeman Bragg. George was a contemporary of Braxton, and in a bit of an ironic coincidence, they were both born in the same town in North Carolina, Warrenton.

George Freeman Bragg. In 1909 the Baltimore Church Advocate Press called him the first Black priest on Southern soil. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

I’m pretty sure there is no relation between the two Warrenton Braggs. George was a Black man born into slavery. This Bragg fought for equal rights for the races and founded churches and schools in his lifetime. He helped Booker T. Washington found the Committee of Twelve, a group that fought for the rights of black citizens of Maryland. Following his death in 1940, the Baltimore Sun remembered his quiet manner and efforts toward interracial harmony.

So, when I look back and think of Fort Bragg, I’ll now do it with new eyes and new information. In addition to the myriad of buddies and experiences I’ll remember, I’ll also be thinking of that other Bragg born in Warrenton, also a native son of North Carolina and America.

I chose to name my Fort Bragg, after his legacy, keeping the name and the place alive forever.