Robert E. Lee–A Day To Remember!

Monday, January 19, 2009

In these sad days of an America that has lost her way; an America, beset by alien values, her peoples’ birthrights–both spiritual and material–compromised, nay betrayed & squandered; there may be some comfort in remembering a truly great man, whose noble spirit once inspired many in an earlier tragedy. This January 19th, all Americans–not just those in his beloved Virginia, or in their Southern sister States, but all Americans–would do well to contemplate the life, heritage, integrity, moral values and example of Robert E. Lee, on this 202nd anniversary of his birth.

It would be virtually impossible to conceive of one who more truly represented the essence of all that was best in the American character. The son of one of General Washington’s principal lieutenants, the nephew of another, Robert E. Lee had much to measure up to. He was one from whom much was to be expected; and few have ever fulfilled hopes so well. From his remarkable level of achievement at West Point, to his heroic decision to put his loyalty to his beloved Virginia ahead of any consideration of personal advantage in 1861; through his courageous persistence in a War that tore his heart, to his sublime nobility in defeat, and last years educating Virginia youth; his was a life that many have sought to emulate, but to which few
indeed have ever measured up.

Lee was the one truly Chivalric figure of middle 19th Century America; the one American of his era, who, seemingly, was virtually without personal flaw. This Ohioan first learned about Robert E. Lee in the study and smoking room of a Great Uncle, who had been born in Cincinnati, seven years after the terrible war. My uncle had a very large, classic, engraving of Lee, dominating one wall, and a somewhat smaller one of General Grant on the wall opposite. While both portraits were impressive, and while Grant was our neighbor in Cincinnati, coming from the adjacent County, his portrait was only impressive. Lee’s had a spiritural power, that even as a small boy, inspired one to higher purpose. Across the decades, it still does.

Thus, a plea to our Southern friends not to take it amiss if the rest of us also borrow your legendary warrior, as a common role model. In these times, when politicians & theorists, virtually all of whom have clay feet, corrupt our culture, law & values; when economic crackpots & Keynesian charlatans undermine our Constitution, debase our currency, and place appalling burdens on unborn generations; when those same politicians & economic quacks, seek–by squandering the moral and material capital of many generations of Americans– to impose values alien to those traditionally American on hapless peoples in other lands; in times such as these, the remnant of the principled, can surely look beyond old differences, to better understand what all of us now have at stake.

Here, then, to the sacred memory of one of Nature’s true noblemen: General Robert E. Lee, on his birthday. May America someday, once again, find inspiration in his example! And Praise a merciful God, who allows us that opportunity.

William Flax

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