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President Woodrow Wilson spoke at the dedication of the statue marking Philip Kearney's grave in Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 1914. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Veterans groups oppose replacement of Kearny statue

By Nikita Biryukov, February 19 2020 1:54 pm

The New Jersey state branches of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion joined State Sen. Joe Pennacchio in raising alarms over the replacing of a statue of Philip Kearny in the nation’s capital.

“One of the missions of the Veterans of Foreign Wars is to ensure the sacrifice of American service men and women are honored and never forgotten,” said Barbara Kim-Hagemann, state commander of the VFW Department of New Jersey. “General Kearny, a legendary hero of the Civil War, was killed in action at the Battle of Chantilly, Virginia on Sept. 1, 1862. He, like many other American heroes, sacrificed his life to reunite a divided nation and free the oppressed from slavery.

A bill advanced by the State Senate last Monday would enable legislature to commission a statue of suffragette Alice Paul and ask the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress to display it in place of a statue depicting Kearny, a decorated Civil War brigadier general for whom a town in Hudson County is named.

Pennacchio and the veterans’ organizations representatives said Paul deserves a statue but argued that her bust should not replace the depiction of Kearny.

“The American Legion, Department of New Jersey strongly opposes the proposal to replace the statue of Major General Philip Kearny in the National Statuary Hall of Collection,” said John D. Baker, department adjutant for The American Legion Department of New Jersey. “Alice Paul deserves to be recognized with a statue and a suitable place should be found, but not as a replacement to MG Kearny.”

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