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Virginia Politics
Posted at 05:21 PM ET, 10/19/2011

Virginians go green for Fort Monroe

It isn’t St. Patrick’s Day, but an awful lot of folks from Virginia are wearing green today.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and his wife, Maureen (Governor's office)

Hampton officials had asked people to wear green Wednesday to support their effort to get President Obama to make part o f Fort Monroe a national park.

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) was wearing a light green tie when he met with Obama in the Hampton Roads city this morning.

Sen. Mark Warner (D) was wearing a not-quite-as-subtle green tie when he testified about Fort Monroe at an Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing Wednesday.  

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) wearing the green. (Senator's office)
The historic U.S. Army fort was closed last month and handed over to the state of Virginia during a deactivation ceremony.

Warner and Sen. Jim Webb (D), who also testified at the hearing, but who was not wearing a green tie, introduced a bill -- the Fort Monroe National Historical Park Establishment Act of 2011 — that would make the fort Virginia’s 22nd national park.

Fort Monroe — on a strip of land in Hampton, where three rivers flow into the Chesapeake Bay — was a key Union stronghold during the Civil War. It became a haven for thousands of runaway slaves. And in 1861, the fort’s commander, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler, made what became known as the “contraband” decision, refusing to return escaped slaves to their masters in the South. Confederate president Jefferson Davis was imprisoned at Monroe for two years after the war ended.

By  |  05:21 PM ET, 10/19/2011

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