Happy 200th Birthday, Robert E. Lee!

January 19th
marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of

Robert E. Lee,
the South`s most beloved hero.

Not too many years ago
most Southern states honored Lee`s birthday as an

official state holiday.
That tradition is

now waning
.

The enormous
importance that the Mainstream Media and political
leaders today give to the

Martin Luther King Holiday
has worked to obscure the
memory of Lee.  Some states, like

Mississippi
, now celebrate Martin Luther King`s and
Lee`s birthday with a state holiday honoring both men.
But most Southern states, following the

politically correct fashion
of the times, have
suppressed the memory of Lee,
his exemplary
character, and his devotion to the

Southern cause.

Lee is still held in
very high regard by most Southerners.

But their political leaders
have been infected with
a disease that slowly dissolves their backbones. For too
many of them, political correctness trumps truth and

honor
.

Although I would like
nothing more than to see General Lee restored to a place
of honor by

Southern state governments
and by local and national
political leaders, this article will make no invidious
comparisons between Lee and King. Lee would have
forbidden any such discussion. His humility was such
that he was embarrassed by adulation.  Following the
War, when Lee was

President
of the

college
that became

Washington and Lee,
he forbade anyone in his
presence to speak ill of his former military adversary,

General Grant.

Such was the sterling
character and code of honor of Robert E. Lee.  He was a
just man, dedicated to high principles.

Lee`s life and career
left a legacy of selfless devotion to duty, honor, and
people unmatched in the history of Western civilization.
His was not just a

military heroism,
but a moral heroism. His brilliant
accomplishments on the battlefield were outshone in
victory and defeat by the nobility of his moral wisdom
and stainless integrity. His devotion to his soldiers,
his family, the

Southern cause
, and

to God
became legendary.

There are those who
say that General Lee cannot be honored because he was a
slave-owner. Yet Robert E. Lee set a moral example by

emancipating his slaves
early in the War and made
sure that they had such training as to make their way as
free men and women. In fact, in an

1856 letter
, Lee stated that:

"In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but
what will acknowledge that slavery as an institution is
a moral and political evil."

James I. Robertson`s masterful biography

of
Stonewall Jackson makes the point that Jackson cannot be
understood apart from his

intense Christian faith
. So it is with Confederate
President

Jefferson Davis,
scores of Confederate generals, and
hundreds of thousands of

Confederate soldiers
in the ranks of the Southern
cause. As Jackson was known for the intensity of his
faith, Lee was known for the sincerity and consistency
of his faith. He cannot be fully understood outside that
context. Neither can the South be fully understood apart
from its spiritual moorings.

In his letters,
orders, short exhortations to his soldiers, and
conversations, Lee made no mystery about the source of
his strength.  He was not a man to foolishly rely on his
own strengths and abilities.  But let General Lee tell
you in his own words.

  • "My heart is filled with gratitude to Almighty God
    for His unspeakable mercies with which He has
    blessed us in this day. For those He granted us from
    the beginning of life, and particularly for those He
    has vouchsafed us during the past year. What would
    have become of us without His crowning help and
    protection?"
    [
    Source]

  • "I
    have fought against the people of the North because
    I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South
    dearest rights. But I have never cherished toward
    them bitter or vindictive feelings, and I have never
    seen the day when I did not pray for them."
    [
    Source]

  • "The truth is this:  The march of Providence is so
    slow and our desires so impatient; the work of
    progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so
    feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the
    individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb
    of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged.  It
    is history that teaches us to hope."
    [
    Source]

Many of Lee`s

present-day enemies
are the very ones who should be
most enthusiastic in his behalf, but they cannot hear
the truth for all the

politically correct
shouting and bullying.

If we are to survive
as a nation, these virtues and the courage to keep them
must be reborn, nourished, and honored. General Lee has
left us a

moral heritage
that must be passed to our posterity.

But I do not despair
that Providence will suffer the sterling nobility of
Robert E. Lee to be swept into the dustbin of history by
ignorant busybodies and

groveling politicians.
 Lee himself might have
counseled us by the words of

2 Timothy 2:3
:

"Thou
therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus
Christ."

Mike Scruggs [email
him
] is a retired financial consultant and corporate
business executive. He holds an MBA from Stanford
University and a BS from the University of Georgia.  He
is a USAF combat veteran of the



Vietnam War
, holding a Distinguished Flying Cross
and Purple Heart.  Until recently he was Chairman of the
Board of a Classical Christian School. He lives in
Hendersonville, North Carolina, and writes a weekly
conservative commentary for the



Asheville Tribune
and the Hendersonville
Tribune
. He is the



author
of




The Un-Civil War: Truths Your Teacher Never Told You.