By Robert Tribble
One of the most popular movies ever made was “Gone With The Wind” based on a novel written by Margaret Mitchell a native of Georgia.
It probably won more awards than any other movie that has been produced to date.
The movie was made to portray the terrible events surrounding the Civil War, War Between The States or the North South War, which ever you prefer to call it. The characters played their roles well from the southern standpoint.
The burning of Atlanta destroyed one of our state’s most industrious cities and Sherman’s march to the sea was devastating.
No doubt the North whipped the South, and many brave warriors on both sides lost their lives as well as others who were not involved in the fighting.
Some people believe the war was fought to end slavery in the South. This was an issue but not the total cause of the war.
From the South’s standpoint the number one issue was states’ rights. Let’s face it, many families in the North owned slaves as well, and in most cases they were treated well in both the North and South.
Gen. Robert E. Lee was commanding general of the Confederate Army during the war years.
Neely Young, editor of Georgia Trend, wrote a column several months ago about Gen. Lee. Neely had visited Arlington National Cemetery where more than 250,000 military gravesites are.
The Arlington House is near the cemetery and was built in 1802 as a memorial to President George Washington by his adopted grandson, George Washington Park Custis. His daughter, Mary Anna, married Robert E. Lee in 1831 and the family lived in the house. It was later confiscated by Union troops and the grounds were used for Union burials.
The home has been established as a memorial to Gen. Lee because he was held in high esteem by black and white people from both the North and South.
When Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia surrendered at Appomattox many Southern armies were still ready to fight on. Neely wrote in his column about an interview Gen. Lee gave to a reporter for The New York Herald shortly after his Army surrendered.
He condemned the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in the Herald story and celebrated the end of slavery. The story received coverage in newspapers in both the North and South, with Lee’s words helping to bring peace again to America.
Not long after the war ended Lee and his family were attending services at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, VA.
As was the custom of that day, the blacks were seated in the back of the church, with their former white masters seated up front.
When the minister called for Holy Communion a black man came up to the communion rail and most in the congregation were surprised as usually whites received communion first. After a short time a tall white man came to the rail and knelt beside the black man to take the Lord’s Supper. Others both black and white then began to follow to join Robert E. Lee and his black brother.
The mansion at Arlington National Cemetery is a living memorial to a great Southern General Robert E. Lee who put the past in the past after the war was over and tried to bring the races together in order to heal a nation that had been torn apart by a war that killed over 600,000 Americans.
Patriot Day will be celebrated in our great nation Thursday, September 11th.
There have been many patriotic men and women who loves, supports and have fought for our country, but none who would rank ahead of General Lee.
With all that said, we still should remember that the terrible war was not all about slavery, but about states’ rights and other issues as well.