Memorialization doesn’t preclude usage - Response to Letter

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I appreciate Ms. Stokes’ sentiment. I, too, agree with the importance of remembering and paying respect to all those who have places on Fort Knox named in their honor. After all, it is because of their distinguished service and sacrifices for which they were bestowed this long-lasting tribute. Also important is that the activities carried out at these sites be in keeping with common decency and Army Values.
One of the things I cherish most about our Army is, despite how busy we may be with our daily tasks, we take time to reflect upon those who came before us and appreciate their contributions. It is for reasons like these that nearly every facility or parade field is dedicated in someone’s honor. This is an excellent tradition in our military, and it is my hope it remains a part of how we formally recognize those who helped mold our Army into what it is today.
Because the places that are memorialized are used for a variety of purposes—be it Houston Bowling Center (memorialized in 1967 after Sgt. John Houston), Keyes Park (memorialized in 1973 after Lt. Gen. Geoffrey Keyes), or Brooks Parade Field (memorialized in 1941 after Pvt. Robert Brooks)—they are not memorials themselves like that of our Duke Memorial or 11th Aviation Command Memorial.
Brooks Parade Field, because of its size, seating and centralized location, is used for such activities as changes of command, the annual holiday card decoration contest, military static displays for high school field trips, a drop zone for the Golden Knights Parachute Team, and for this July—the hub for Family-friendly Fourth of July activities. Although the activities are wide-ranging, they do not serve to discredit or disparage the field’s namesake. However, they do serve to draw more visitors who will have the opportunity to read the plaque about Pvt. Brooks and why this 36-acre field was named in his honor.
I thank Ms. Stokes for her dedication to ensuring those, like Pvt. Brooks, are properly honored at all times. Her patriotism is also a reminder of just how many Americans take note of and appreciate the sacrifices of our fallen.
Army Strong! Strength Starts Here!
Maj. Gen. Jeff Smith
Fort Knox Commander