Reader-submitted, letter by Dee Laird.
I am greatly concerned with your publicized decision to remove the Robert E Lee statue from historic Monument Ave. Now you may wonder why some fellow from western Colorado should be concerned with your actions. The first 55 years of my life were spent in Henrico and Hanover counties in the landscape nursery business, and at one point in my career, my company had a Richmond contract to replant over a hundred large sugar maples down that same historic Monument Ave that is home to the magnificent statues of LEE, STUART, JACKSON, DAVIS, MAURY, and ASHE, all part of Virginia’s long history.
I graduated from St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, Hamden-Sydney College, and Virginia Tech. My undergrad major was history with an emphasis on Civil War history, and I’ve walked the ground of every major battle in Virginia, as well as Gettysburg, and Antietam.
Lee graduated at the top of his class at West Point and became a highly decorated member of the US Amy. He proved to be a man of honor and integrity, and was so well respected that, when war became inevitable, Lincoln offered him command of all US forces. But because of his high sense of honor to his state of Virginia, even though he deplored secession and slavery, he resigned his commission to support his state, and one oft he
greatest tactical generals ever produced in this country. Post-Civil War, Lee was revered not only in the South, but the North as well. In 1865 Lee became President of Washington College in Lexington [ later Washington and
Lee] and was named the spiritual founder of The Kappa Alpha Order because he was a moral role model.
There is no question our country has experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly in its long history. But it is still our history, not to be trifled with, but learned from. The Civil War brought emancipation, long overdue. Later segregation was ended, long overdue also. Removing the Lee statue on Monument is, in my opinion, nothing but a historically illiterate political move on your part to attempt to absolve you of your now famous ‘blackface” background, curry favor with other historically illiterates offended by the Lee statue, and to deny the history of Virginia.
In my younger years, I spent sixteen years as a lobbyist in the General Assembly, on behalf of the industry of Virginia agriculture, primarily for the Nursery industry and The Virginia Agribusiness Council. During that period, I had the great honor of working closely with three governors: Mills Godwin for his two separate terms, Linwood Holt0L and John Dalton.
All outstanding governors, who had the highest respect for the highs and lows of Virginia history.
Removing the Lee statue changes not a bit of real history, but with all respect to the office you hold, brands you as a political fool for being manipulated into such action.
This move and your recent actions against the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution are sure to place you high in the ranks of Virginia’s worst governors. Do you also intend to remove JACKSON, STUART, and DAVIS statues? How about the Civil War statues at VMI?
You sir are a disgrace to the Commonwealth of Virginia and your alma mater VWI. Hopefully, the voters of Virginia will be more selective in the next gubernatorial election! In my opinion you are in the same league as our Colorado governor. both of you are sending our two great states down the tubes, while further dividing our country!
Finally, if my comments offend you, the immortal sentiments of Rhett Butler come to mind: ‘Frankly, I don’t give a damn! “