Veteran’s Day offers another opportunity to celebrate Fort Lee’s 100 year anniversary

FORT LEE, Va. (WRIC) — As we honor our Nation’s veterans Saturday, it’s important to consider the men and women who serve here in Central Virginia.

8News reporter Amy Simpson went to Fort Lee to speak with officials about how they plan to celebrate the holiday as part of their 100th year anniversary.

Officials told 8News that Fort Lee is now considered the third largest Army Training Center in the country.

“This is a very significant year,” Dr. Kenneth Finlayson, the Fort Lee historian said. “Anytime you can celebrate a centennial of anything in this country, that’s a major event.”

Fort Lee, which began as Camp Lee in 1917, was established to support troops during World War I.

The term “camp” signaled its temporary structures and was dismantled into a forest and game preserve in 1921.

However, not long after, it was rebuilt with brick and mortar as World War II began, finally earning the name “Fort Lee” in 1950.

The name Lee comes from Confederate General Robert E. Lee and was established as a recruiting tool during the time.

“You wanted to have a camp that represented the area that you came from. Lee was a Virginian, probably the most famous general of the Civil War,” Finlayson said.

It wasn’t until 2005, with the Base Realignment and Closure Act that Fort Lee expanded again, training, educating and developing army professionals.

In 2017, the fort now supports more than 86,000 people, with a reach all the way across the globe.

“There are no soldiers serving anywhere in the Army that are not supported by soldiers trained at Fort Lee,” Finlayson said.

Fort Lee has a footprint of more than 5,900 acres.

The post also has a local economic impact of $2.4 billion each year.

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