For this week’s quote we go back in time to 1869, when the president of Washington College, Robert E. Lee, sat down to reply to a letter from the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association. The association had asked him to join in an effort to memorialize the field with monuments to those who had fought there. Lee declined, adding:
I think it wiser moreover not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavoured to obliterate the marks of civil strife and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered.
Those people who plan to travel to Lexington, Virginia, this coming week to honor Robert E. Lee should keep what Lee said in mind. Not that they would be the first to ignore the wishes of someone they claim to honor. The same holds true for the first effort to erect a monument to Lee on the battlefield. Eventually, of course, Virginia honored its general, and every year thousands of people gather there to embark upon a walk across the very same fields where Confederates charged on July 3, 1863.