LEESBURG, Va. (WDVM) — Loudoun County is taking a step forward to correct a World War I plaque in the County Court House. Names in the original plaque were racially segregated.
On the rededication night of Veterans Day, several county officials along with members from Veterans of Foreign War Post 1177, reveal the correct plaque in the courtyard. The names on the plaque are largely identical, but they are more integrated and ordered alphabetically. On the original plaque, three African-Americans’ names were placed at the bottom of the plaque with a line to separate from the name of white service members.
The correction was not made until two laws passed in the General Assembly — HB 1537 from the House of Delegates and SB 183 from the Senate — that allowed the local government “to remove, relocate, contextualize or cover monuments or memorials for veterans of any war or conflict.” This overturned Virginia’s prohibition on the removal of Confederate war memorials. After the law took effect in July 2020, several jurisdictions within Virginia took steps to make changes to memorials.
“There are some Loudouners on our world war I plaque who served and died in the great war recognized differently in the plaque merely because of the color of their skin, wrong….This is not an effort to change the history ladies and gentlemen, it’s a correction of injustice,” said Philip C. Rusciolelli of VFW Post 1177.
The Board of Supervisors, with the support of the Foreign War Memorial Trust Fund Advisory Committee, authorized the replacement of the plaque to integrate the list of service members.