A street in Brooklyn, New York that was previously named after a white Confederate general has now been changed to honor a fallen Black American war hero.
On May 20, the city renamed General Lee Avenue (named after Robert E. Lee) to John Warren Avenue. This change recognizes First Lt. John Earl Warren Jr, a native of Brooklyn killed in combat at the age of 22.
The new street name sits at the main entrance of Fort Hamilton Army base, located on the Brooklyn side of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Warren’s posthumous praise comes after the soldier gave his life to save others while stationed in Vietnam. In 1969, the veteran used his body to cover a grenade to shield three of his platoon members from danger in Tay Ninh Province.
Following his death, the lieutenant received the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, for his selfless act of heroism.
The deceased’s sister, Gloria Warren-Baskin, began calling for a name change in 2019. She was in attendance for the ceremony. Commander of the garrison Col. Craig Martin, who was also present, got on board for the name change in 2020.
“This is a big deal because my brother was born and raised in Brooklyn, attended the public schools in Brooklyn. This is an honor to have a street sign here at Fort Hamilton Army Base with his name on it, in Brooklyn, his home,” Baskin-Warren said.
“When Army personnel and their family members and retirees walk along John Warren Avenue and say to themselves, ‘Who was John Warren?’ I hope that they would take the time to look his name up and know that he is deserving of this honor, that he sacrificed his life to save three of his Army men,” she added.
This Memorial Day we continue to remember the brave U.S. military personnel who gave their lives fighting for this country.