- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 21, 2002

Arlington County, Va., is replacing the image of Robert E. Lee's boyhood home with that of an American flag unfurling over the Pentagon on its car registration decals.
The old image of Lee's home and memorial has come in two forms and been displayed on the dashes of Arlingtonians for at least 20 years, Chief Deputy Treasure Kevin Appel said. This past year the decal image was a photo of the home also known as Arlington House in honor of the county's bicentennial.
What better way to honor those lost in the attacks, as well as Arlington county emergency workers, than to have an official county decal, Mr. Appel said.
"Right now we wanted to remember the heroics and the people who died on September 11," Mr. Appel said.
The decal, which will be issued starting July 1, indicates that residents' personal-property taxes have been paid. It will cost $24 per sticker.
But members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans say Arlington is practicing revisionist history and fear the image of Lee's home located at Arlington National Cemetery will not be restored on the decal, which is a possibility, according to county officials.
"That's in keeping with all this nutty stuff that's going on rewriting history," said Russell E. Darden, a department commander with the Northen Virginia division of the Confederate heritage group. "…'To purge a man's home and his namesake from history who was as clean and reliable as a Christian man for the sake of being politically correct is just sad."
Other members of the group contend, too, that Virginia seems to be shirking its Confederate past, even though the Civil War battlefields, trails, monuments and other exhibits are a huge tourist draw for the state.
Henry E. Kidd, a division commander of the Virginia chapter of the SCV, said he thinks it is a grand idea that Arlington honor the dead and heroes of September 11, but he hopes it is not being used as an excuse to erase Lee's home from the decal.
"It's just another chip out of our state history," Mr. Kidd said of Arlington possibly not using the Lee memorial for its vehicle decals even after the Pentagon decal is used this year.
"If you have Robert E. Lee's home taken off for political correctness, that's just wrong. They want to eradicate Virginia's Civil War past."
County Board Chairman Christopher E. Zimmerman said it is ludicrous to think that Arlington is trying to erase Lee and its Civil War past from the county's history books.
"We use Arlington House as a symbol everywhere. We have done a lot of stuff to save Arlington House and do renovations," Mr. Zimmerman said. "It's on our flag, it is our seal."


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