COMMENTARY: Remembering Robert E. Lee’s 202nd Birthday
By Calvin E. Johnson Jr.
Sir Winston Churchill called General Robert E. Lee "one of the noblest Americans who ever lived." Please let me call to your attention that Monday, January 19, 2009, is the 202nd birthday of Robert E. Lee, whose memory is still dear in the hearts of many Southerners. Why is this man so honored in the South and respected in the North? Lee was even respected by the soldiers of Union blue who fought against him during the War Between the States.
What is your community doing to commemorate the birthday of this great American? During Robert E. Lee’s 100th birthday in 1907, Charles Francis Adams Jr., a former Union Commander and grandson of US President John Quincy Adams, spoke in tribute to Robert E. Lee at Washington and Lee College’s Lee Chapel in Lexington, Virginia. His speech was printed in both Northern and Southern newspapers and is said to had lifted Lee to a renewed respect among the American people.
Read about the upcoming January 2009 events for Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in Lexington, Va. at: http://www.geocities.com/lexington_lee_jackson/ Dr. Edward C. Smith, respected African-American Professor of History at American University in Washington, D.C., told the audience in Atlanta, Ga. during a 1995 Robert E. Lee birthday event: "Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert E. Lee were individuals worthy of emulation because they understood history."