To the editor: Recently I heard that the demonstrators entertain themselves by pulling down statues and destroying public property, all in the name of diversity. Unfortunately, a sculpture of the famed Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee fell to their wanton vandalism. The youngest of seven children cared for by his impoverished, widowed mother, Lee never owned any slaves and disbelieved in slavery and secession. This honorable man graduated from West Point in 1829 second in his class and, after 36 years of distinguished service to the Army, resigned to offer his abilities in defense of his native state of Virginia, which lay south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Unfortunately, he got on the wrong side of history when he ran into the overwhelming forces of Ulysses S. Grant near a small town in southern Pennsylvania called Gettysburg. Does anyone really believe that disparaging the memory of this great man will contribute to the solution of anything?
Let us not then forget the father of our country, George Washington, the first president of the U.S. who in 1760 paid tithes on 49 slaves. When attending the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, he conspired to keep his beloved slaves by planning to simply rotate them from Mount Vernon every six months, since the laws of Pennsylvania permitted him to retain them if pre-owned but mandated that they be eventually freed. Or how about Thomas Jefferson, the third president and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, who owned at least 150 slaves and actually enjoyed a black mistress after the death of his white wife? Perhaps we need to remove their respective visages from our currency and even rename our nation’s capital city, not to mention the state of Washington, Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, and even Washington and Jefferson drives, right here in Fairbanks, behind the Washington Plaza Mall. Should we tear down the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial?
“If strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind” — Robert Edward Lee, 1860.
“So sad for the country! The problem is sin, not skin. The answer is grace, not race. Jesus died for all. Our nation needs Jesus!” — paraphrased from a post on Facebook.