Lee is a legend. There is no hero more encompassing the virtues of our continent – sacrifice in the face of hardship, unceasing endurance, and love for a Lost Cause. But causes are never truly lost – Like Lee himself – while we hold them near to our hearts.
Other notable persons of the past have reflected upon and given due praise to General Lee, and we include their words below for your edification.
U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower (R), letter to Leon W. Scott, 1960:
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.
Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of this great American on my office wall.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D), unveiling a statue to Robert E Lee in 1936:
I am very happy to take part in the dedication of this memorial to General Robert E. Lee.All over the United States we regard him as a great leader of men and a great General, but, also, all over the United States I believe we recognize him as something even more important than that. We recognize Robert E. Lee as one of the greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.
President Gerald R Ford (R) in 1975:
As a soldier, General Lee left his mark on military strategy. As a man, he stood as the symbol of valor and of duty. As an educator, he appealed to reason and learning to achieve understanding and to build a stronger nation. The course he chose after the war became a symbol to all those who had marched with him in the bitter years towards Appomattox.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill:
Lee was the noblest American who had ever lived and one of the greatest commanders known to the annals of war
President Donald Trump (R) tweeting in 2018:
So Robert E. Lee was a great general. . . Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle.
For some extra reading today, consult the following short articles:
Churchill, JFK and Jimmy Carter all defended Robert E. Lee. Why doesn’t New Orleans? – by Owen Courrèges
Robert E. Lee: Gallant Soldier, Noble Patriot, True Christian – by Mike Scruggs
Robert E. Lee, Revolution, and the Question of Historical Memory – by Boyd Cathey
Happy Robert E Lee Day!