25 January 2014

Lee Jackson Day - Who Is It Good For?

Kevin Levin, who has expressed the view he saw no reason to celebrate Lee-Jackson Day, posed the question noted above. Kevin and many of his followers would like to see the tradition of honoring Lee and Jackson in Virginia (and other places in the South) thrown on the trash heap of history.

In regards to the question posed, I'll let others answer, beyond what I've previously noted. First we'll go to Washington and Lee University's website where the university gives some background as to the connection both namesakes have to the school. I'll pull just a few excerpts, but recommend reading all the information contained on this particular page.
As Washington had done in 1796 when pondering what to do with the canal stock, Lee sought the advice and counsel of many people before agreeing to accept the position [of President]. His decision, no less than Washington's, forever altered the prospects of the institution for the better.
And . . . 
Lee's mere presence brought mostly positive attention to the institution. Far more than a figurehead, Lee proved a creative educator whose innovations laid the groundwork for both a curriculum and a sense of honor that remain distinctive to this day.
And . . .
Lee's personal character was equally important in setting the tone for the future. Perhaps the one story of his presidency that is retold most often serves as the basis for the University's distinctive Honor System. When a student asked Lee for the college's rules, the president is said to have replied: "We have but one rule here, and it is that every student be a gentleman." That principle is part of the foundation for a campus culture built on civility, duty, and integrity for the men and women of the student body.
And finally . . .
In a speech in Lee Chapel on Oct. 10, 2011, Civil War historian James I. Robertson called Lee's presidency "his greatest achievement, far more than his generalship." Added Robertson: "I don't know of an individual in America, including the president of the United States, who did more in the short time he had to bring this nation together than Lee."
Regarding Jackson, we'll let Colonel Keith Gibson enlighten the uninformed, though much more could be said:

Hopefully, this will inform certain individuals with some perspective beyond present faddish "memory" studies and political, pop-culture considerations. I'd also recommend Robert Moore's comments on the topic.

No comments: