As we know, certain local politicians in New Orleans seek to remove the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, at Lee Circle, a statue that has stood there for well over 100 years.
In that regard, perhaps we should look back to the World War II generation, the “Greatest Generation,” and make note of a few things.
As America entered World War II, the U.S. Army utilized the “General Lee” tank, the M3 tank, arguably the functional predecessor to the Sherman tank, which was used for the balance of the war. Interestingly, the British then used what was known as the “General Grant” tank, a modified version of the “General Lee” tank, also made in America.
Also, after the war, a WWII naval hero, who later became president and a monumental civil rights leader, John F. Kennedy, had occasion to speak of Gen. Lee. He did so on more than one occasion.
In 1963, just months before he died, President Kennedy spoke of the bravery of the Union Army’s Irish Brigade as it charged the Confederate lines during the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg. Kennedy then chose to quote the man who he called “the great military leader of the Southern Confederate forces,” namely Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Kennedy noted that Lee said, “Never were men so brave …Their brilliant though hopeless assaults on our lines excited the hearty applause of our officers and soldiers.”
Earlier, in 1960, when Kennedy was still a senator, he also spoke of Gen. Lee. Kennedy said, “as a New Englander, I recognize that the South is still the land of Washington, who made our nation — of Jefferson, who shaped its direction — and of Robert E. Lee who, after gallant failure, urged those who had followed him in bravery to reunite America in purpose and courage.”
As we certainly know, under Lee’s command, many from Louisiana bravely fought and died in that brutal war of secession, a War Between the States with compulsory conscription on both sides, a Civil War of brother against brother.
Yet, despite the noted references by President Kennedy and the U.S. military, somehow, in today’s America, Lee’s statue is viewed by certain politicians as offensive or a mere nuisance.
One would have to wonder how far to the left of President Kennedy our country plans to go, in its ever-growing acceptance of modern politically correct tunnel vision, if “the great” Gen. Lee is now to be reduced to an offensive nuisance?