As a serious student of American history, I believe this decision would greatly damage the narrative and soul of our country. The news accounts are a little sketchy, and I don't want to jump to conclusions ... the prospect of removal being contemplated on the basis of an unidentified "official" asking the administration why the college honors two generals who fought against the United States. Um, perhaps because they are both distinguished American military tacticians, and this is a War College, after all, for the study of lessons in warfare. Besides that, the institution has a long history of making future field generals, and these are two of the greatest!
|Robert E. Lee Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson|
I would like to inform Ms. Kerr that Robert E. Lee was not only a top graduate of the United States Military Academy, but he distinguished himself as an exceptional officer and combat engineer in the United States Army for 32 years. During this time, he served throughout the United States, distinguished himself during the Mexican-American War, and served as Superintendent of the same United States Military Academy of which he was a graduate. Military historians consider Stonewall Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in U.S. history. In my book, these facts make them both worthy of hanging in the halls of the War College!
And I also have to question the comments of Army Major General Tony Cucolo, the commandment of the college, who said, "There will be change: over the years very fine artwork has been hung with care — but [with] little rationale or overall purpose. I will . . . approach our historical narrative with keen awareness and adherence to the seriousness of several things: accurate capture of U.S. military history, good, bad and ugly; a Soldier’s life of selfless service to our Nation; and our collective solemn oath to defend the Constitution of the United States (not a person or a symbol, but a body of ideals). Those are the things I will be looking to reinforce with any changes to the artwork."
Perhaps Major General Cucolo should delve into a little bit of history himself and research what Congress did in 1975; namely enact a joint resolution reinstating Lee's U.S. citizenship, stating, "This entire nation has long recognized the outstanding virtues of courage, patriotism and selfless devotion to duty of General R.E. Lee." Furthermore, the resolution praised Lee’s character and his work to reunify the nation. It noted that six months after surrendering to General Ulysses S. Grant, Lee swore allegiance to the Constitution and to the Union.
Now this is pure speculation on my part, but Major General Cuculo was educated in New York and San Francisco, so perhaps he has no love for the history of the South or the Confederacy. That is understandable. Having lived in both sections of the country, there is a passion in the South that is often under-estimated by those who live in the North. But it would be a shame if the animosity that tore this country apart 152 years ago plays any part in this decision to erase from view two proud Americans who loved their country enough to fight for what they felt was best for her.
It is hard to know the true feelings of the commandant of the War College, or what the actual future plans are for the military artwork that portrays America's history in battle. You can read Maj. Gen. Cucolo's own statement here, and decide for yourself. I would simply hope that all of our history will be represented. It's what makes us such a unique and exceptional nation.
Job 8:8-10 "For inquire, please, of bygone ages, and consider what the fathers have searched out. For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you and utter words out of their understanding?"