VMI to keep Confederate statues

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LEXINGTON, Va (WDBJ7) -- VMI leaders have released a statement on the future of Confederate monuments at the military college.

President of the Board of Visitors and John William Boland and Superintendent Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III said in part the school has produced leaders that fought in many wars throughout U.S. history, and that "the past only defines in part who we are today."

Monuments from the Civl War era have fallen under more scrutiny since a white nationalist rally turned deadly in Charlottesville in August.

VMI currently has no plans to remove its Confederate statues.

"Hate, bigotry, and discrimination are wrong, and do not represent the values of the Virginia Military Institute, and will always be addressed decisively. We will learn from the past and take the best from our predecessors in shaping our cadet citizen-soldiers for today and tomorrow.", the statement continued.

VMI has several Confederate statues on campus but the most notable one is of Stonewall Jackson.

There's also Virginia Mourning Her Dead, a metaphorical figure kneeling at the graves of the New Market cadets as well as a statue of an early Superintendent in front of Smith Hall.

The statement concluded, "We will continue to learn from our history, yet be ultimately guided by our best judgment in how to achieve our mission. The safety of our cadets, faculty and staff, our Post and our community is always present in our mind."

You can read VMI's full statement below:

VMI' s mission is to produce educated, honorable cadets and graduates imbued with characteristics and traits long admired by our great Nation. We produce leaders of character who are prepared and ready to serve our communities, our states, and our Nation in times of peace and in times of war. That is our singular objective. As the oldest state supported military college in the nation and a national historic landmark, VMI has produced leaders that fought in the Civil War, Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War, World War I, defeated fascism in World War II, marched for civil rights in the ’60s, fought in Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf, and has seen its alumni as the best of leaders across the spectrum of industry, medicine, the law, politics, religion and business. Like the United States itself, who we were in the past only defines in part who we are today. Hate, bigotry and discrimination are wrong, do not represent the values of the Virginia Military Institute, and will always be addressed decisively. We will learn from the past and take the best from our predecessors in shaping our cadet citizen-soldiers for today and tomorrow. We achieve this objective through the Institute's challenging and demandingly unique education structured in a military environment that has served the Nation well for more than 178 years.

We will continue to learn from our history, yet be ultimately guided by our best judgment in how to achieve our mission. The safety of our cadets, faculty and staff, our Post and our community is always present in our mind. That is why, today, the VMI Board of Visitors endorses continuing to acknowledge all those who are part of the history of the Institute. We choose not to honor their weaknesses, but to recognize their strengths. We will continue to learn and not to repeat divisions. We strongly encourage all to move forward together in the defense and advancement of our Nation.