U.S. owes much to Washington, Lee
Being the great-great grandson of a Union soldier who gave the last full measure of devotion to preserve the Union in the bloodiest war in American history, I have a vested interest in the actions of the Alexandria Episcopal Church and the critics of Gen. Kelly’s remarks about the Civil War.
Gens. Washington and Lee were revered by their peers. The removal of historical plaques devoted to these two men due to one being a slave holder and the other having a wife who owned slaves does not do justice to their generations or to the current citizens of the United States. Washington, for all his faults, set the tone for the presidency. He retired to Mt. Vernon after an eight-year presidency, which in the era of Napoleon and other emperors and czars and czarinas was quite remarkable. Lee, who could not find it in his heart to turn against his beloved Virginia, could have initiated a guerrilla war after Appomattox but chose not to do so. Our nation has evolved for the better because of these two men.
In making his comments about the Civil War having been the result of the refusal of some to compromise, Mr. Kelly demonstrated the wisdom of King Solomon. People should view Lincoln’s first inaugural address, as well as his letter to Horace Greeley, dated Aug. 22, 1862. He was clearly willing to compromise. Others were not, and the result was the loss of over 750,000 lives.
We should put current monuments alongside historical ones in order to illustrate a perspective that reflects the contributions of men and women of goodwill who furthered the cause of independence and equality.