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Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 10:28pm
Fort Bliss (U.S. Army) — From Maj. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland's weekly commentary:
At the beginning of this month Fort Bliss changed the name of the Robert E. Lee Gate (on Airport Road) to Buffalo Soldier Gate. In due course, we will change the name of Robert E. Lee Road to Buffalo Soldier Road. I wanted to take the opportunity to comment on the basis for this change.
Fort Bliss was once home to elements of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments and 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments, known as the Buffalo Soldiers. Their service here is already commemorated near the same gate by the Buffalo Soldiers Monument, a large bronze statue of Corporal John Ross of I Troop, 9th Cavalry, returning to Fort Bliss from a mission along the Guadalupe Mountains. It stands not far from where the Buffalo Soldiers’ barracks once were during WW II.
While Confederate General Robert E. Lee was a worthy opponent to General Ulysses S. Grant and one of our most celebrated cavalry leaders, he neither visited nor served at Fort Bliss and has no historic connection with this installation. In no way is this action part of some broader effort to rename the streets currently named after Confederate Civil War leaders; this is a measure to commemorate the Buffalo Soldiers and their role within the history of Fort Bliss and the U.S. Army.