Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Historic Resources
Board of Historic Resources
Regulations Governing Contextualization of Monuments or Memorials for Certain War Veterans [17 VAC 5 ‑ 40]
Action Promulgation of Regulations Governing Contextualization of Monuments or Memorials for Certain War Veterans
Stage Fast-Track
Comment Period Ended on 4/13/2022


All comments for this forum
Back to List of Comments
3/14/22  7:27 am
Commenter: Jock Yellott

Objection to fast-tracking: these regulations are deeply flawed

I object to fast-tracking the regulations.  Monuments and Memorials are the most controversial issue in Virginia's recent history and these flawed regulations need a complete re-thinking.   

They set up the Board as censor of signs with 'sole discretion' to approve them -- for which  there is no legal authority in 2020 Va Acts Ch. 1100 and 1101, Section 4, the enabling legislation.   

They limit localities to just one (1) sign, which is antiquated thinking, pre-cell phone, pre-internet. 

They mandate topics localities must address on that single sign, including requiring a recital of the Left-wing mantra that all monuments have an ulterior motive of "exclusion."  That is latter-day political opinion, not historical fact.  

They allow as sources "anything that can be cited"  which invites rants from  blogs, editorials, Twitter feeds:  propaganda rather than fact.  Astoundingly, so intent are the regulations on grievance mongering about ulterior motives, that the one sign permitted need not mention the basic facts of who is commemorated and why?   

And there is no requirement or opportunity for public comment. 

The entire project needs re-thinking from scratch.   Instead of mandating topics, and a dictat setting up the Board to vet every sign,  the Board should simply publish guidelines for localities. 

The guidelines should either confine contextualizing to verifiable historical fact cited from contemporary sources, or at the very least flag the difference between historical fact and politicized "interpretation."   

The Board should confine itself to an advisory role.  If necessary the Board can offer procedures for an administrative appeal available to aggrieved citizens to decide questions of veracity and balance.

And the guidelines should apply not just to  existing monuments, but to where they once stood. The empty space where a monument once stood speaks, in its sad way.  Highway markers often memorialize what was once there. 

Contextualization should edify. If feasible maybe not just truncated history on signs but websites too, which would allow more detailed storytelling that could pop up on cellphones like Pokeman Go. The current regulations don't even imagine such a possibility.

Instead of mandating a wooden recital of the Woke Party Line,  littering our landscape with diatribes looking at monuments through today's Left-wing political prism -- the regulations should promote diversity of information. Differing perspectives. Jeffersons' "illimitable freedom of the human mind." 





CommentID: 120708

3/14/22  10:53 am
Commenter: Carlyle Gregory Jr

contextualization of monuments is not needed

This is a bad idea.  History is full of good and bad happenings.  Our understanding of those events is always colored by what we know and what we think.  We don't need some government board telling us what to think.  Besides, we know that whatever people think of the civil war or Virginia's colonial past will change.  Facts are what we need.  No opinion.

CommentID: 120712

3/14/22  10:55 am
Commenter: Dr.Ann H. McLean

No fast tracking of re-contextualizing!!!

Dear All,

Any professional worth their salary or position knows that

”haste makes waste”.   Thoughtful, well-considered decisions

are the only ones which avoid regret, embarrassment and lawsuits.

I firmly object to the thuggery which continues to 

plague our city and Commonwealth, and you should also.

No fast-tracking!!!


Dr. A.H.McLean, PhD.

CommentID: 120713

3/14/22  11:00 am
Commenter: Anonymous

historical statues and plaques,

Do not remove historical statues and placques! Relocate to an appropriate historical location if necessary . Destroying history is what dictatorships do!!

CommentID: 120715

3/14/22  11:14 am
Commenter: Stephen Boyle

Promulgation of Regulations Governing Contextualization of Monuments or Memorials for Certain War Ve

I object to the fast-track handling of this regulation. I believe that it should go through the normal regulatory process.

CommentID: 120717

3/14/22  11:28 am
Commenter: Walter Smith

Contextualization of historical markers

With regard to this regulation - - this requires sober thought and not adoption of current "woke" ideology.

This cannot be fast-tracked and must actually reflect real history and not erase history. One day the erasers will be erased. You do not learn from the past by erasing it. Stop the insanity.

CommentID: 120719

3/14/22  11:49 am
Commenter: John Massingill

Don't Fast Track This Proposal

I object to the fast-track handling of this regulation. I believe that it should go through the normal regulatory process.

CommentID: 120720

3/14/22  12:01 pm
Commenter: Timothy J Sullivan

Contxtualization of Certain Monuments

I object to “fast-tracking” the administrative process proposed to be used for the consideration of these regulations. This subject is fraught. More time is needed to be sure that all points of view are weighed carefully.

CommentID: 120721

3/14/22  12:02 pm
Commenter: Erik Curren

Regulations Governing Contextualization of Monuments or Memorials for Certain War Veterans [Under De

I am writing to oppose the "fast track" consideration of new regulations on contextualizing monuments and memorials to war veterans, especially connected to the Civil War. I am a living history interpreter of Union General Ulysses S. Grant and I also run the website marking the bicentennial of his birth, My studies of Grant's life and career and the history of the Civil War in general have taught me that the issues over which it was fought are certainly relevant to today, but that the past is also "a foreign country" as the old saying goes, with different context from the present. That's why I support adding new context to connect accurate history with issues important to Americans today. But since both the history and the issues are complex, the process to add context should be well constructed. Significant financial and cultural resources were invested in creating monuments and memorials in the past. The regulations for recontextualizing them today should be a careful one with sufficient time to consider all the issues involved. Public review and input should also be an integral part of the process of writing regulations. Fast tracking is not appropriate in this case. Thanks for your consideration.

CommentID: 120722

3/14/22  12:20 pm
Commenter: Alice Scott

I object to this fast tracking of regulations regarding monuments and Memorials of Veterans

I object to this fast tracking of regulations regarding Monuments and Memorials of Veterans.  I believe Virginia has already suffered a great loss in the destruction of Monument Ave in Richmond and all the other monuments that have been taken/destroyed.  Those monuments were works of art that should not have been removed.  If they had been contextualized where they stood it would have been a history lesson as you walked the Ave.  

CommentID: 120723

3/14/22  1:34 pm
Commenter: Charles Weber

Objection to fast-tracking historic marker contextualization regulations

Historic markers and monuments are intended to promote a discussion and deep understanding of our history, not the preferred narrative of today's most vocal activists.  These proposed regulations will permit ahistorical sources for the content of such markers and thus short circuit to search for truth.

These important regulations deserve more time for thoughtful commentary and critique.  Please remove them from the fast track process. 

CommentID: 120727

3/14/22  1:39 pm
Commenter: Ken Stiles, Virginia Tech

Regulations Governing Contextualization of Monuments or Memorials for Certain War Veterans


Before any sign or monument is taken down, changed, or 'contextualization ' a committee of Virginia historians must examine all proposed changes - with historical supporting evidence to support any change from what already exists.  

The current proposal is wrong, subjective, and anti-historical in focus.

CommentID: 120728

3/14/22  2:11 pm
Commenter: Robert Coleman Smith

Woke History Is Not History/ 17 VAC5-40

I strenuously object to the proposed regulations to "contextualize" monuments and memorialize. As we have seen over and over since 2020, there is a hate filled movement to destroy history and to sow division. This is part of a neo-Marxist movement to bulldoze the past.  Moreover, we have seen time and time again where these extremists just fabricate facts out of thin air to support their radical agenda. Simply put, they are hate groups and the Commonwealth should not kowtow to them.

CommentID: 120729

3/14/22  2:45 pm
Commenter: Bryan Selph

No Fast Tracking "Contextualization of memorials for war veterans"

I do not support revisionist history being fast tracked.  I suspect the energy of the liberal woke movement needs some time to simmer....  With time, perhaps they will learn that their 2022 view of history is nothing more than a wishful perspective of events they know absolutely nothing about.  Virginia has already attempted to revise history by destroying Monument Avenue and other statues.  Enough.

CommentID: 120730

3/14/22  3:26 pm
Commenter: gerald thrash

Contextualization of monuments or memorials for Certain War Veterans.

The Department of Historic Resources is fast-tracking regulations governing the contextualization of "monuments or memorials for Certain War Veterans."  I object to this fast-tracking. The new regulations will expedite the promulgation of Woke propaganda to litter the Virginia landscape.  I do not trust the judgement of the re-writers of our state's history and I certainly don't condone them writing their controlling documents.

CommentID: 120731

3/14/22  4:14 pm
Commenter: Jane Williamson

Object to Fast Tracking of Historic Resources Regulations Governing Contextualization of Monuments

I object to the fast tracking of regulations governing contextualization of monuments and memorials for certain war veterans as I believe the draft regulations to be seriously flawed in a number of areas.  Given that the matter of contextualizing monuments is a highly charged issue today, I think that it is important that it be done carefully, using the standard rule making process, with an additional insistence that contextualization be historically accurate (One section of these draft regulations, by using the word "shall"  (17VAC%-40-40.) seems to actually mandate propagandizing language instead) and that public input should be invited. 

There are so many flaws, errors and omissions in the proposed regulatory document,   that if it is allowed to move forward without careful revision, I believe that it will prove to be an embarrassment to the state of Virginia.  Its development has obviously been constructed with a deep bow to so-called social justice warriors and their ideology and a slap in the face to the rest of us. 


CommentID: 120733

3/14/22  4:33 pm
Commenter: Scott Courtney

Contextualizing Monuments

I object to this fast-tracking of legislation.  I have several points of contention:

  1. The first is the definition of "contextualize".  Who determines "fact" from fiction?  Nothing from the newspaper should be allowed - there's very little truth.  Who determines what source is acceptable to be cited?  A minimum standard needs to be thought out.
  2. 17VAC5-40-40.6.a - Motives?  How will anyone know the motives of someone who has been dead for 50-100 years?  
  3. 17VAC5-40-40.6.d - Parties excluded?  Does this mean women, or women from the northern states must be mentioned if the monument is regarding George Washington?  Do indigenous people need to be mentioned if the monument is about Enduring Freedom?  Why, or even why not?  

More work needs to be done instead of trying to jam this down our throats.

CommentID: 120734

3/14/22  4:43 pm
Commenter: Stefanie Marshall

Contextualization Regulations

I object to fast-tracking the contextualization regulations. They need to be re-thought, and should go through the full process. 

CommentID: 120735

3/14/22  4:49 pm
Commenter: Catesby Leigh

Board of Historic Resources Regulations on Contextualizing Monuments/Memorials

I am a Washingtonian descended from Virginians on both sides. I strongly object to the proposed "contextualization" guidelines and just as strongly oppose "fast-tracking" them without a thorough review process permitting thoughtful debate among citizens concerned about the future of Virginia's civic-art heritage.

CommentID: 120736

3/14/22  6:56 pm
Commenter: Peter H Bryan

Contextualization of Monuments in Virginia

I do not believe the regulations or discussion surrounding the contextualization of  various monuments throughout Virginia should be fast tracked.  Our history is far too rich, complex and nuanced, to be subjected to the vagaries of the current social winds that may be blowing.  These monuments and descriptions thereof merit a thorough and well considered exploration of all facets of consideration.  The discussion needs to be meaningful and joined by many, from all points of view, in order to develop a thoughtful approach to how the Commonwealth interprets or in some cases, re-interprets, history.  The full blown two year comment and open discussion period needs to be followed.

Thank you for your consideration. 


CommentID: 120742

3/14/22  9:18 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Contextualization of monuments

I am against this proposal, I say leave current monuments alone

CommentID: 120749

3/14/22  10:17 pm
Commenter: Tom Winfree

Please allow time for more public comment on changing our public roadside monuments

I object to the fast tracking of changing our public’s monuments. Please allow time for proper vetting and comment.

CommentID: 120750

3/14/22  11:50 pm

Objection to fast-tracking regulations governing the contextualization of "monuments or memorials"

I object to  fast-tracking regulations governing the contextualization of "monuments or memorials for Certain War Veterans. I deem the subject matter is contentious and deserves much more consideration than expedient fast-tracking.

CommentID: 120752

3/15/22  8:53 am
Commenter: Anonymous

Inaccurate renaming/revision

Please stop the inaccurate revision and renaming of historical markers and places. How much is this costing the taxpayers? How historically accurate is the research? Thank you. 



CommentID: 120754

3/15/22  9:17 am
Commenter: George Walton

Fast Tracking Contextualisation of Monuments

I object to fast tracking this highly important subject. Subjects such as this need to be made after the emotions have subsided and upon sober reflection of all factors and possibe unintended consequences. Deliberation is a virtue when emergency factors do not require immediate decisions.

CommentID: 120755

3/15/22  5:18 pm
Commenter: Barbra Knupp

Memorial & Monuments Regulations

Under the current political climate we should not fast track or change the regulations.  We have seen an over reaction for purely political reasons.  Our history should reflect the good and the bad but should not be swayed by the flavor of the month.  The pendulum has swung too far and will soon be swinging back as a few very loud groups are trying to make it look like a large group are in support of their political agenda. Please hold off on these changes.  It would be a very costly endeavor.  

CommentID: 120770

3/15/22  6:13 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Objection to the Fast Track of Regulations concerning contextualization of monuments or memorials

I hereby express my strong objection to the Department of Historic Resources fast tracking the promulgation of regulations concerning contextualization of monuments or memorials for certain war veterans. Not long ago the Department of Historic Resources was presumed to be charged with protecting and preserving our physical historic resources and physical artifacts. Now it seems to be bent on destroying the history as the Department so deems. This is wrong. The citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia have not authorized this "contextualization." And there has certainly not been the necessary reflection of history to allow the "fast tracking" of this sneaky and quiet proposal. It is not the authority or duty of the Department of Historic Resources to "contextualize" and editorialize the Commonwealth's history at memorials and monuments in the rushed, biased, and political manner so proposed. Virginians and others are intelligent and educated enough to read and form our own opinions. It is not for the Department of Historic Resources to make those judgements and indoctrinate the people. This is totally wrong, devious, and unconscionable if the free society of the United States and the Commonwealth. 

CommentID: 120771

3/15/22  10:10 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Contextualization of "monuments or memorials for Certain War Veterans."

Some of the requirements for submitting a proposal seem questionable, subjective and vague.  How can one define "who" was omitted in a proposal and "what" the proposers "motives" are?

The point of placing a historical marker is to display verifiable historical events and people in those events.  There should be no "motive" for creating such a marker, just an interest in telling the history.  It doesn't matter who submits the proposal as long as the facts are true.  The marker does not need to explain everything about an event or place or person--how could it and still fit on a marker.  The marker can only hit the highlights.  If some other group wishes other facts to be presented, they should have the right to submit their own proposal for a marker and more than one marker should be allowed for any event, location or person.



CommentID: 120774

3/17/22  4:57 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Regulations Governing Contextualization of Monuments or Memorials for Certain War Veterans

I object to the fast-tracking of these Regs.  This is an invitation to more controversy and acrimony like that experienced over the past 2 years regarding the monuments.  While whatever is settled upon will not please all, a carefully thought out and publicly discussed plan will be infinitely preferable to one rushed through.

CommentID: 120807

3/22/22  2:03 pm
Commenter: Chris Rafferty

Objection to DHR Fast Tracking of Monuments or War Memorials for Certain Veterans

I object to fast tracking of new DHR law or regulations regarding Monuments or War memorials for Certain Veterans.  Virginia has a long and important history in the development of the United States including critical figures and events during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.  I believe that any changes to how our history is presented must be deliberate and studied. This cannot be the case if the current fast tracking process is allowed. 

CommentID: 120841

3/25/22  12:38 pm
Commenter: Jim Fernald

Object to Fast-Tracking of new DHR Contextualization Regulations

Ladies/Gentlemen - I am writing to state my objection to the current fast-tracking of DHRs new draft Contextualization Regulations. While I agree there is good cause for this effort, it must be done in a very careful and deliberate manner. Much of the effort to recontextualize is being driven by strong emotions following the tragic death of George Floyd as well as the apparent "revelation", for many, of some of the uglier parts of our American history. But facing up to that ugliness and adding broader context does not necessitate voiding or erasing the positive contributions made by many of those honored in our historical places, monuments, memorials, etc.  We need to create "Balance" here. And rushing to set up a new set of centralized rules and regulations without a broad representation of people and local input (including substantial time for all to comment) will lead to yet more aingst and problems. These regulations should NOT be fast-tracked.

Thank you.

Jim Fernald

CommentID: 120868

4/2/22  1:27 am
Commenter: Joshua Day

Regarding the proposal to fast track changes to monuments and or historical markers of Virginia.

To whom it may concern,

I write in objection to the "fast track" proposal that would change regulations on how Virginia presents the monuments and markers of its history. Re:

As a student of history, from all aspects, what has been going on the last few years has been absolutely heartbreaking. While some points may be made about mythology with some of the people represented, I will not advocate the removal or complete demonization of historical figures. You can build others up without tearing others down. My view of this whole thing always has been and always will be,  "Build more." We are not doing that. We are caving to what is a Marxist movement to recontextualize not just Robert E. Lee or the Civil War but the whole structure of the country. We must object to the fast track method, because people need time to be informed and properly react to any proposed changes. The desire to fast track reveals to me the nefarious motives of vindictive and hateful people who are doing what they are doing out of spite and in the spirit of revenge. This will not stand well over time.  All of history deserves to be told. Even the parts that are painful and contentious. They don't just represent the past, they are reminders of how far we have come. History removed is history forgotten. History forgotten is history repeated. Please do not do this. Let there be a proper period of at least a month before people are informed by public hearing to voice any objection or advice on the monument or marker in question.

kindest regards,

Joshua Day


CommentID: 121073

4/11/22  12:48 pm
Commenter: Dawn Keplinger

Monuments or Memorials for Certain War Veterans “fast tracking of regulations”

I object to this fast-tracking of regulations that will govern contextualization of “Certain War Veterans’ Monuments and/or Memorials”.  

What a travesty this will be, because it will allow people with “WOKE” ideologies that most Virginians do not share to put up all sorts of monuments and memorials, quickly, and most will be based on emotion and current philosophy or political leanings.  

Please allow such regulations to go through the full 2 year vetting process, to allow for emotions/political trends to settle down or even pass by, and make room for common sense and rational thinking to be part of the process.  

Rational thinking should prevail, and time is necessary to make wise decisions.  Rushing most anything usually leads to more problems than solutions.  Thank you.

CommentID: 121120

4/12/22  7:45 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Don't fast track

I object to the fast-track handling of this regulatory action. Fast-tracking this is reckless and not needed. 

CommentID: 121390

4/13/22  1:44 pm
Commenter: Jacob Rogers

Objection to [17 VAC 5 ? 40]

Only having learned of this public comment period for this regulatory action today, I personally gave bit had enough time to make a well informed decision regarding the nature of this action.  From initial reading, this is an attempt to standardize a formal process to 'contextualize' war monuments, which could be a good thing indeed.  However, I do not agree with the terms of the policy wherein particular individuals have sole approvership authority.


Fast tracking this regulatory action is a clear mistake and needs to be handled differently to allow due consideration of more perspectives and a more appropriate formal process.  Slow this down immediately.

CommentID: 121433