Musings of the Chronologically Challenged™ Fourth Generation
Sunday, January 19, 2003
Jan 19, 1807
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GENERAL LEE
It’s hardly thought to be worth mentioning these days, but January 19 should be a holiday for the quintessential Southern Gentleman, Robert E. Lee. And not just in the South either. General Lee’s character and admirable demeanor transcended the North/South division. He was nationally and internationally revered for over a hundred years – until it became “uncool” to admire anything Southern unless it was the Civil Rights Movement. The two chapters of our history are not incongruous or discordant to me. I hold in esteem and venerate every American who lived his/her life with honor and in accordance with their beliefs. But I digress.
"When the future historian shall come to survey the character of Lee he will find it rising like a huge mountain above the undulating plane of humanity, and he must lift his eyes high toward heaven to catch its summit. He possessed every virtue of other great commanders without their vices. He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression; and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy and a man without guile. He was a Caesar without his ambition; Frederick without his tyranny; Napoleon without his selfishness; and Washington without his reward. He was obedient to authority as a servant, and royal in authority as a true king. He was gentle as a woman in life; modest and pure as a virgin in thought; watchful as a Roman vestal in duty; submissive to law as Socrates; and grand in battle as Achilles."
The Lees of Virginia founded an honorable dynasty, the qualities of which were instilled in their descendents and Southerners in general. “The Robert E. Lee Memorial Association is dedicated to preservation, research and education. ( Link here and click on “History” oval on right side of page.) The Association interprets to the public Stratford Hall and the plantation life of the Lee Family, whose ideals and leadership helped shape democracy in the United States. Built during the late 1730s by Thomas Lee, Stratford is a working farm encompassing 1700 acres along the Potomac River 60 miles northeast of Richmond, Virginia. It was the boyhood home of Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee -- the only brothers to sign the Declaration of Independence -- and birthplace of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Historic buildings and grounds serve as articulate and instructive examples of life at the very top of early American society.
“Stratford Hall is one of the great houses of American history. Its magnificent setting on a high bluff above the Potomac River and its bold architectural style set it apart from any other colonial house, but its highest distinction is the family of patriots who lived there.”
Raise your hand if you know the name of General Lee’s horse. Yes, his horse. Would you believe that some really heated arguments have arisen about this? Have you ever witnessed such a debate? How much money was bet? Whether a debater thinks Horse X or Horse Y, he or she is convinced that their answer will win the bet. For the truth, check this out.
While you’re time traveling and remembering General Lee, you may want to link here and listen to his favorite song.
SOUTHERNERS! God Bless Us Every One.