“General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was a poised and inspiring leader, true to the high trust reposed in him by millions of his fellow citizens; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his faith in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history.
From deep conviction, I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s calibre would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the Nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.”
As this quote by Dwight Eisenhower on Robert E Lee shows, Lee was a great man. Few other men have such distinguished force for good think so highly of them. Eisenhower was the General that beat back the Nazis, as recounted in Max Hasting’s Inferno and Armageddon. Also, he fought the Soviets, as recounted in Bridge of Spies. Eisenhower understood evil; he had seen both of its purest forms firsthand. He did not think of Lee as an evil man or even someone who Americans should be wary of honoring.
Although flawed and a product of his time, General Lee was a good man. That should be remembered by all, but it only will be remembered if Lee the general is remembered, the full man described in Clouds of Glory. Some bring up his time as an administrator, or service during the Mexican-American War, and that role is important. But, it pales in comparison to his role in the Civil War.
Lee was known as an honorable man, and it perhaps the greatest human incarnation of honor we will ever see. Lee should be remembered for his service and values. What he did and what he stood for cannot be forgotten.
Image at top from: R E Lee Monumental Association
Read this quote of Dwight Eisenhower on Robert E Lee here: https://www.civilwarprofiles.com/dwight-d-eisenhower-in-defense-of-robert-e-lee/
Check out my analysis of a quote by Churchill, another great WWII leader: https://genzconservative.com/winston-churchill-socialism-quote/