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Happy Birthday General Robert E Lee On April 9, 1865 the father of Lee biographer, Douglas Southall Freeman watched General Lee ride away from Appomattox Courthouse and an old man ran out into the road and cried, with hands uplifted "We love you, General Lee! We love you more than we ever did!"

Confederate Information about Robert E. Lee

As we are entering a new century, we are enjoying prosperity and progress like never before. But even in light of this progress, our hearts are turned to honor the memory of one Robert Edward Lee and as we face uncertain days for our heritage and our culture, we declare "we love you more than we ever did. Our ancestors who knew Lee and confederate information, who rode under his Generalship, who saw firsthand the effects of his leadership and character, saw the urgency and the importance of marking General Lee's birthday as a holiday. This holiday is to be kept as an opportunity and an obligation to tell succeeding generations of the greatness of this man and the enduring quality of the principles that he fought for. Today, we are gathered here with heads held high, voices uplifted and with hearts full in honor of one of Gods greatest soldiers General Robert Edward Lee. There are certain reasons why Lee is today revered so highly so much so that a news related poll two years ago noted that Lee is still well over a century after his death in 1870, still the Souths most revered figure. What characteristics of Lee so mark his greatness? Please allow me to give two choices made by our General that set him apart, yea, sanctify our General to a position of greatness among us.

I. Choice for Constitution which set Lees Earthly Destiny Robert E. Lee was born into the famous Lee family of Virginia. Perhaps no extended family played a larger role in the founding of our Federal Republic than the Lee Family of Virginia. His father, Lighthorse Harry Lee was George Washingtons closest friend and at Washingtons funeral gave Washington the praise first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen. Young Robert grew up with the desire to emulate George Washington. As a young man, Robert E. Lee won appointment to the US Military Academy where he finished near the top of his class, never receiving a demerit during his entire time as a Cadet. From there on, Robert E. Lee was the epitome of an all-American young man. He became a hero in the Mexican War and was named Superintendent of the US Military Academy. Now mind you, I am not just trying to recount his life to this point. I am hoping that you will understand when the crisis of secession came in 1861, Robert Edward Lee was considered a stellar American patriot. No military man had the leadership ability and confidence of fellow military men like Lee. This is evidenced by the fact that when the War began, Mr. Lincoln offered Robert E. Lee command of the Union forces. Please consider the scenario here. This young man had devoted his life to the service of the Union. He had trained to serve the military of the Union. His father and his uncles were part of the founding of this Union. Now, his lifelong dream had been realized as he could follow the steps of his hero Washington as commander of the Union. This was the most agonizing choice Lee ever faced. Unlike the fire eaters like Edmund Ruffin, Robert Toombs and William Lowndes Yancey, Lee initially opposed secession, feeling it not the wisest immediate course. So, how could Lee ever turn down this magnificent offer?

Lee understood a deeper loyalty than loyalty to an organic Union. Lee understood that the highest loyalty is loyalty to the principle and Lee chose to follow the Constitution. Lee had studied Rawles writings at West Point and had been nurtured at the breast of self-government under a Republican form of government. Lee correctly understood that secession was a right and that the Union was formed by the States. Thus, Lees highest patriotic duty was with his native Virginia. Hear me today! While it may seem strange in our 21st Century to speak of secession, our founding fathers all understood that the states formed the Union, thus giving them a right to leave the Union. Lee understood that our Constitution is a compact among states and this was the prevailing view of most Americans during the first 80 years of our existence as a Republic. So, Lee had great sentiment with the Union, but he chose the Constitution and cast his lot with his highest loyalty, his home state of Virginia. Lee truly followed his hero, George Washington by choosing the Constitution.

Robert Frosts poem The Road Less Traveled concludes with I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. We are here today because Lee took the road less traveled by. He chose principle over expediency. Have you considered what would have happened if Lee had taken Mr. Lincolns offer? Well, for starters, he would have been the Norths most brilliant officer and would likely have shortened the War. But Lees greatness is not diminished due to providence determining that our side lost. Lees choice was to do that which was right. Lee may have been made President of these United States, may have died a rich man” but Lee made a choice that enabled him to die with a clear conscience. He stood for that which he knew to be right. We thrill at the Biblical stories of Daniel, cast in a den of lions, of little David and his defeat of the wicked giant Goliath with just a sling shot and the three Hebrew children who were cast into the fiery furnace, but yet protected by God. But there are other Biblical examples. John the Baptist was beheaded, early martyrs torn apart by lions and our Lord crucified on a tree. Right is not guaranteed to prevail in this life. Lee understood that he had no guarantee of earthly success, but he chose to do right by standing on the Constitution and in defense of his native Virginia.

Michael Horton

But Michael Horton sided with the north. The Dr. Michael Horton
More about Michael Horton Michael Horton professor

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