VA hospital to drop Confederate name – TTG

Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center is located on a 26-acre parcel of land in South Richmond. It will now be called Richmond VA Medical Center.  RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH

The Department of Veterans Affairs has changed the name of the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veteran Affairs Medical Center in south Richmond, dropping the name of a Confederate surgeon. The facility’s new name: Richmond VA Medical Center. It’s the latest instance of a Richmond-area institution scrapping a reference to the Confederacy. “VA will continue to serve all veterans with dignity and respect at this facility and every facility,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement.

During the Civil War, McGuire was a surgeon under Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. He was later president of the American Medical Association, and he helped found part of what is now the medical college of Virginia Commonwealth University. But he saw Black people as inferior to whites. He wrote that African Americans were “deteriorating morally and physically” and would eventually “disappear from this continent.”

Construction on the hospital began in 1943 — when it opened, it bore McGuire’s name. The Department of Veterans Affairs received numerous requests to change the name, McDonough said. Veterans, employees and even the hospital’s administration were in favor of a switch. Among those asking the VA to change the hospital’s name was Rep. Donald McEachin, D-4th, who died Nov. 28.

There’s a reason the new name lacks creativity. The Department of Veterans Affairs has limited authority to change the names of its facilities, the department said in a statement. But federal law does allow it to change a hospital name to match its geographic area as long as the previous name isn’t codified in law. Richmond VA Medical Center was the department’s only choice, a spokesperson for the department said. The department can’t name a building for an individual without an act of Congress. The VA isn’t the first entity to drop McGuire’s name. In 2020, VCU renamed McGuire Hall and removed a bust of him from the building. The facility is now called the VCU Health Sciences Research Building and Annex.

But at least one Richmond memorial to McGuire remains – a statue depicting him is in Capitol Square. McGuire’s descendants supported the name change. In a 2020 Richmond Times-Dispatch op-ed, they acknowledged the pain caused by statues and buildings honoring Confederate leaders. They asked that McGuire be judged on his complete life and contributions. According to the op-ed, McGuire suggested a radical idea to Jackson during the Civil War – that the Confederacy set free Union surgeons who chose to stay behind and administer care to the sick and dying. The Confederacy adopted this approach, and others followed. It eventually became international law under the Geneva Convention that medical workers be treated as noncombatants and be allowed to continue their work.

Comment: This article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch was republished in my local Fredericksburg paper. I use this VA medical center regularly so the news obviously caught my eye. But it is also a great example of local journalism. The reporter, Eric Kolenich, does an excellent job in explaining the facts surrounding this news without resorting to either outraged support for Hunter Holmes McGuire or his demonization. This is one of the reasons I crow incessantly about the joys and value of local newspapers and why I quoted it in its entirety.

But back to McGuire. It was Colonel Lang who told me of McGuire’s service as General Jackson’s surgeon. After that I learned of his role in establishing the AMA and what was to become the medical schools and hospitals of the Virginia Commonwealth University. Thanks to Eric Kolenich, I also learned how Doctor McQuire established protocols and procedures allowing captured medical personnel serving with both the Union and Confederate armies to continue as medical professionals in captivity. This concept was later incorporated into the Geneva Conventions.

Sure he remained an ardent white supremacist, segregationist and believed slavery was critical to the South’s economy and culture, but those were common societal beliefs at the time. At some point we have to start looking at people in the context of their times. I won’t begrudge him his remaining statue behind the Virginia State Capitol. It does not glorify the Confederacy in any way, but there’s no telling how much time that statue has remaining. 


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18 Responses to VA hospital to drop Confederate name – TTG

  1. Fourth and Long says:

    In the top photo — look carefully. They’ve misspelled “Dots.”


    • TTG says:

      You’re a joker, F&L, a real joker.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        Thanks. I hope you understand it’s meant in a positive sense. I used to play banjo and guitar in a silly amateur bluegrass band and my dad’s family is from the area you describe, my memories of the area are amongst my most precious. I could sing a mean “Wabash Cannonball” but preferred the Hank Williams Sr adaptation “The Pan American Special” (same tune different words) because it was a song about a Southern train.

        And I haven’t the words to express how much I miss Chicken Fried Steak as prepared in the truck stop diners of our great Southland (discovered while working for United Van Lines during college summer breaks). I don’t care for mincemeat pie though, preferring pumpkin.

        Most people in the US, especially northerners, have little to no idea how wildly diverse the country is. Automobiles are fast and airplanes damn fast. They get you around but you miss the points in between. And modernity irons out a whole lot too.

      • LeaNder says:

        I agree. t’was hilarious.

        Nevertheless, you might be interested: Jacob Siegel connects the dots on secrecy.

        • Fourth and Long says:

          Thanks. I got as far as the link to the Lee Smith article “..coverup not a coup .. “. Then an ultraviolet light seemed to appear out of nowhere and I thought deeply enough to remember – “hmm, really, and Ron Klain just resigned, oops, said he resigned, yes that’s better now, said he resigned , no silly, the NYTimes wrote that he said he was stepping down ..”. All the while reminding myself — ” the epoch times is a source ? .. are my Falun gong membership dues payments up to date? ”

          It’s a marvelous essay – beginning with Jamie Lee Curtis and the photo on the her wall off a child in a bathtub who is actually NOT an adrenochrome pizza-parlor rape-abductee .. this fellow can write, and has a sense of humour, and speaking of Ms Curtis, did he mention the Alec Baldwin case .. am I implying Hollywood links to .. oh no, never .. .” I give the man high marks for effort. Will it include the story of how Meyer Lansky showed certain fascinating photographs to the founder of the secret police of a large country .. a mere story, mind you, in return for which .. ? Hey I’m an old guy, and my mom knew about that stuff and she .. but let’s thank Matt Taibbi (thanks Matt!) for “revelations” (not by St John) .. guess what the fbi does whaat? On Twitter you say? Anywhere else? Yes, good old Matt Taibbi who speaks fluent Russian and lived in … for years and years and why .. because he found Dostoyevsky’s writing fascinating you see and therefore .. yes .. since he’s a “writer” learned the language .. makes perfect sense .. and he threw a bucket of warm what(???) on the face of Russian editor in Moscow and got away with it .. must be a very talented writer .. in fact he is.

          Well, I wish I knew but I don’t. My thoughts ran to .. Burisma and ideas like starting world wars over documents which might .. oh and films .. on a laptop no less, and there was something about the word “lap” .. oh what was it .. hmm .. of an adult child
          playing pecker-footsie with a beautiful young woman unoccidentally .. and .. oops soon “secrecy” will overflow with connotations of “secretions” and ..

          And then I remembered Trump being imp-peached (according to “our laws”) over a telephone call where he showed a lack of enthusiasm for starting a world war .. and then I thought .. could some strange inexplicable force .. possibly (if you watch 60 minutes let’s say) even from distant galaxies under the Pacific ocean flying third Reich aqua-aeronautic wunderwaffen but maybe terrestrial .. could it be just possibly saying pretty please NYTimes please write that the Whitehouse chief of staff is stepping down while we pretend it has nothing to do with Doc You Meants (MD) ..

          Is Doctor You Meants in the office?
          Ok, thanks I’ll call back later.
          Sometimes, for a very special sort of secretary (that word again?) all it takes is one phone call.
          Was old Joe insufficiently hawkish?

  2. Fred says:

    These will continue to be erased by the cultural Marxists to further the fundamental changing of America into their vision.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      True, but you don’t know what the actual motivation for the name change was. There is effective anti-American propaganda right now available on the web which utilizes the racist memes of the old days. There were reasonable arguments made that the real reason the Eisenhower administration took the anti-segregation moves that it took was due to the effectiveness of the eastern bloc propaganda of cross burnings, lynchings and scenes of race riots. It preceded that, of course. The US was getting it’s butt kicked in the worldwide propaganda wars – so the story goes. The Cold War started in 1917, not 1946. Or maybe when Tsar Ivan IV proposed marriage to Elizabeth Tudor through diplomatic channels of those days.

      • Fred says:


        Eisenhower was also a Republican, the same party as the president who lead the union in that war that ended slavery on this continent. We should say thanks every Juneteenth when the left trots out their marxist ‘holiday’.

      • Bill Roche says:

        F&L good for you maybe 1 out of 10,000 understand that the cold war b/g in ’17 NOT ’45. The socialist had some big time American supporters; Bryan, both Roosevelts, Wilson, and most recently Obama. As to that southerner from Delaware Biden, he is just a common crook. The only ideologies that concern him are found on the Yankee dolla.

        More important buy a Hank Snow (dead was Canadian) record and be sure it contains his “I’ve been every where” tune; old hilly billy song from the ’30’s. Best part of the Army was it sent me south for basic/ait. I learned there is nothing dumb about the south (despite what the Yankees still believe). Cars and planes go real fast. Big highways help. NYS put in the Northway from Albany to Montreal. Got me from Yonkers to Saranac real fast. But it made ghost towns of all the little villages from Albany north. So too for the NYS Thruway to Buffalo. New Yorkers wonder nowadays why that great swath of NY is a dead zone. Well, we killed it.

        • Whitewall says:

          “As to that southerner from Delaware Biden”. Ughhhh.
          We have enough troubles already.

        • Leith says:

          Stay off those thruways Bill. I took route 20 ten years ago from my sister in Pittsfield MA and headed west all the way to Cheektowaga. Saw SkinnyAlice and all the touristy Finger Lakes. Further west though was a goldmine of small towns and villages. And then south to Jamestown on a secondary road to see more kin in Jamestown. Great trip!

    • Bill Roche says:

      Fred its worth saying it outright. What do the Marxists wish for America?

      • Fred says:


        I suggest you review what marxists have wished everywhere else they have weilded power.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        Bill Roche,

        What’s the problem? Was it Chico .. Harpo? It couldn’t have been Groucho, could it? Beards and foreign accents? Aah ..cigars! In that case I get it. Finally the Fidel Castro commie connection comes into full pants-down view! Marxism! Commies! Cuba! Cigars! Jackie hated the smell of cigar smoke .. oh poor Jack, poor poor Jack ..

        For those too young to know: Groucho Marx smoked Cigars. And Cigars come from Cuba. And Cuba is ruled by .. you got it … Commies! And Commies based their stuff on Marx!

        Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr.: Is the World Funny?
        Guest: Groucho Marx.

        • Bill Roche says:

          I used to love Buckley’s show. I watched the entire clip you provided. Now, at my age, he appears to be an insufferable pompous ass. Still smart as a whip, but how self indulgent. When I was younger I also enjoyed “You bet your life”. Yes, I could enjoy both Buckley and Marx.

          • Fourth and Long says:

            Bill Roche,
            Check out his Wikipedia entry. Impressive dad – an oil baron with 10 kids who worked in Mexico and South America. WF Jr’s first language was Spanish, then French. Lived in a Swiss chalet for 30 summers. A master harpsichordist too – I remember his ads in the NY Times magazine section promoting an original keyboard sight-reading method from my days in junior high or hs.
            Man are you not kidding about that section of NY state etc. I had no idea till pure circumstance destined me for a Vermont visit by car from the big Apple back in 1992 or so. I chose to go up through the Troy NY area because it afforded an opportunity to see a very old squeeze from my college days. I was aghast – shocked into disbelief by what I saw. It was death writ large. The outer limits of the twilight zone. You’d have to reach for black and white films of ancient gulags of the thirties to convey try the sense of it. A horror. I don’t remember it that way at all from my memories of the late fifties and sixties. I actually thought it must have been subjected to bizarre secret government weapons tests and that maybe the films of atom bombs out west were a distracting hoax or something. That’s how baffling it was. And people, it seemed, still lived there. The woman, ages since I’d seen her, was a matching piece with the environs – once a brilliant beautiful gal (a bit flakey, yes), and wealthy lawyer now but obviously dying – a character from a Poe story creaking through a giant lonely house sans any furniture or life. I tried to explain to her that she absolutely had to get out of there and that her condition had to be related .. to no avail. No wonder the anger I hear in your voice.

            I think the take people here have on socialism is, pardon my francais, f*cked up extremely due to the simple fact that Stalin was a monstrous psychopath and that “socialism” in the Soviet Union had nothing to do with socialism in the sense that Karl Marx possibly might have meant (he was not a nice person either but ..) or that was in part achieved postwar in some European countries especially Scandinavia. In the SU, especially the disastrous early SU it was a lie – an absurdity told to the descendants of the serfs which enabled the new aristocratic nobility to justify their greedy dominance and decorate themselves with virtuous accomplishments and ideals. You should believe in that being “socialism” about as much as believing we in the US have something approximating the fairy tales told to children about George Washington chopping down a cherry tree and never telling a lie.

            It’s all a pack of hooey, Bill. Jonah was swallowed by a whale. Yes. And Davy Crockett killed a bear when he was only three. And oh, “Yes we can!” Who said that? Better pay your medical insurance premiums. It’s in the constitution, right?

          • TTG says:


            I went to college in Troy, NY in the early and mid-70s. It was a run down city at the time, but certainly no worse than Waterbury, CT during that time. What was once known as the brass city lost all its heavy industry. An RPI professor/chaplain, Father Tom Phelan, was instrumental in efforts to revitalize downtown Troy. The city has come a long way since I first arrived there.

  3. Fourth and Long says:

    Larissa Chernikova sings – Vspominat Ne Hado – It is not necessary to remember.

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