North Carolina’s Fort Bragg is now Fort Liberty, as the US Army on Friday redesignated one of the largest military installations in the world.
The renaming was formalized in a ceremony on Friday morning.
The change follows a branch-wide push to rename bases that bear the name of Confederate leaders. It is currently named after Gen. Braxton Bragg, an unpopular Confederate general who garnered a lot of criticism for his hot temper, combative personality and often subpar performance on the field.
Fort Bragg was among nine bases that a congressional commission proposed renaming, but while the others have been – or are expected to be – redesignated after notable people, Fort Liberty will be the only facility named after a value.
“Liberty is about changing the narrative a bit about who we are, but it is not about forgetting who we are or what we’ve done,” Fort Liberty Garrison Commander Col. John Wilcox said in a statement to CNN. “It is about dedicating time and effort to honor those who have made sacrifices along the way.
“Liberty lives here. It is part of our ethos and it’s part of who we are,” he added.
The Army acknowledged concerns from those who argue the history of the base should be preserved, but said on its website that “no act can take away from the heritage this installation’s service members created while stationed here or anywhere else, serving our nation.”
“We understand the original name’s prestige in the eyes of some of the Soldiers, Families, and our nation, was built upon the bravery and dedication of those who served here, not because of an obscure, incompetent, ill-tempered confederate general’s legacy,” the website continued. “Nevertheless, our nation’s representatives felt a need to move on from that name and put the redesignation into law, and we are abiding by that law.”
As part of the redesignation, several streets on the base will also be renamed after service members with “a unique connection” to the military post. These changes are expected to be completed before December 31.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first Black person to hold the position, approved the congressional commission’s naming recommendations last year.
Last month, Fort Hood in Texas, another major military installation, was redesignated Fort Cavazos, in honor of Gen. Richard Edward Cavazos, a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars who became the first Hispanic person to wear four stars on his uniform.
CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Oren Liebermann, Devan Cole, Barbara Starr and Ellie Kaufman contributed to this report.