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Lee portrait does him dishonor

By Staff | Jul 10, 2015

To the editor

“I think it wiser moreover not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered.”

– Robert E Lee

General Grant pardoned all confederate soldiers and officers the day following surrender to avoid ongoing war trials and recriminations. President Johnson returned citizenship to all but a few and the applications of those not included were approved without delay. Robert E. Lee spent his final years fully supporting the Union and encouraging his former troops to do the same. His daughter proclaimed at his funeral that it could have been considered treason to bury him in his confederate uniform. Their were no confederate uniforms or flags at his funeral.

And, yet the portrait of Robert E. Lee in full confederate uniform adorns the Lee County Commission Chambers, a picture hung during the days of Jim Crow Laws supposedly as a warning to minorities that they were not welcome to participate.

Our county chose to ignore his 31 years of service in the U. S. Army, his accomplishments as a civil engineer, the fact he was the first commander of the cavalry, being commandant of West Point, president of Washington College (later Washington and Lee). They chose recognize only a brief five year span of his life as representative to the entire man. They chose to display him as treasonous in an insurgent uniform that is hardly representative of southern heritage and greatness.

It is time to hang a proper picture and honor Robert E. Lee’s wishes to relegate the civil war to history and museums. Ask our commissioners to remove the picture and replace it with one more appropriate.

Steve Sherman

Fort Myers