Ice Ice Baby

Well Mother Nature came to call and boy did she. Like you, we were socked in a bit, power off and on. I must admit the news folks had been preaching for quite a while that it was coming and, for once, they nailed it. If you were like me, you were stocking up, hoping for the best preparing for the worse. Those preparations certainly paid off. A hard job was handled very well by Hominy’s Electric Department and Dispatch. Hats off to them and all those who were there when and if needed. Many others were there waiting the call if needed. Salute!

Today in history Robert E. Lee was born in 1807, born to “Light Horse Harry” and Ann Carter Lee. He gained an appointment to West Point Military Academy as a young man. Robert, who led the Cadet Corps in 1829, graduated second in his class. In four years, he received not a single demerit, and he became one of the most popular cadets in his class. When he returned as the Academy’s superintendent years later, he won the same affectionate respect from the cadets for his compassion, sense of fairness and strong moral leadership.

At the outbreak of the Mexican-American War in 1846, Robert was ordered to Mexico as a supervisor of road construction. His skills as a cavalryman in reconnaissance, however, soon captured the attention of General Winfield Scott, who came to rely on Robert for his sharp military expertise. It was in Mexico that Lee learned the battlefield tactics that would serve him so well in coming years. Despite his flawless performance as an engineer and his brilliance as an officer, promotion came slowly for Robert Lee. His assignments were lonely and difficult, and he found the separation from his family hard to bear.

The Army of the United States had been his life’s work for 32 years, and he had given it his very best. On April 18, 1861, he was finally offered the reward for his service. On the eve of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, through Secretary Francis Blair, offered him command of the Union Army. There was little doubt as to Lee’s sentiments.

He was utterly opposed to secession and considered slavery evil. His views on the United States were equally clear.  “No north, no south, no east, no west,” he wrote, but the broad Union in all its might and strength past and present.” Blair’s offer forced Lee to choose between his strong conviction to see the country united in perpetuity and his responsibility to family, friends and his native Virginia. A heart-wrenching decision had to be made.

History records the rest. A different man could have prolonged a divided nation so many years. “Abandon your animosities,” he said, “and make your sons Americans.” He then set out to work for a permanent union of the states. Interestingly, his application to regain his citizenship was misplaced and not acted upon until 1975. Although more than a century late and long after his passing, Lee worked tirelessly for a strong peace. With some hesitation, he accepted the presidency of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, and there he strove to equip his students with the character and knowledge he knew would be necessary to restore the war-ravaged South.

 Lexington became his home, and there he died of heart problems on October 12, 1870. After his death, his name was joined with that of his lifelong hero, and Washington College became Washington and Lee University.

If you enjoy reading I highly recommend checking out Killer Angels, Gods and Generals, and The Last Full Measure. It sheds personal perspectives of most of the leaders during the years before and after the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings for January, except when it is below freezing, are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of coffee. And meetings are the first and third Thursday evenings (19th).  I look forward to Commander and Vice Commander’s updates from the State Convention. Keep your eye on the weather in case things must be postponed. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also, keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

About Gary Lanham

Authors the weekly article "News from the Hut", about local American Legion Post #142 in Hominy, OK. Read his weekly articles in the "Hominy News Progress".
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