A recent story, “Controversial historical figure,” informs us that members of a local “social justice organization” would like to see George E. Pickett’s name removed from the bridge first built by him in 1857. George Pickett is arguably the most famous person ever to have lived in Whatcom County. Not only is his name linked to the single most famous military action in American history (Pickett’s Charge), but also to the central climactic moments in two other national conflicts: his having lifted the flag over the parapet during the Battle of Chapultepec leading to the conquest of Mexico City in the Mexican-American War and his having led the American forces in the bloodless Pig War that eventually resolved the border dispute with the British Empire and made the San Juan Islands part of the United States.
Presumably, the local group believes Pickett’s affiliation with the Confederacy makes him anathema to locals, thus warranting the obliterating of his name from local, if not national history and related monuments. If so, why focus on such a small target as Pickett? Why not follow what I believe to be their self-righteous indignation and work to remove slave-holder George Washington’s name from our state?