Sunday, January 24, 2010

Robert E. Lee Day?

A few days ago, I was talking to a friend about all of the different holidays, and about how we get out of school for so few of them. She brought up one that I had never heard of, Robert E. Lee Day. Supposeably, some people in the south celebrate this day in place of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, for they fall so close together. Officially, the unofficial Robert E. Lee Day falls on the Nineteenth of January, his birthday. King's holiday falls on the third Monday of each January, typically around his birthday, January fifteenth. Click here to find out more about Robert E. Lee Day.

Celebrating Robert E. Lee Day out of sheer spite for the North seems quite childish and immature to me. This practice occured somewhat recently, as the friend I mentioned earlier had heard about the holiday from her step-father, who had got out of school for Robert E. Lee Day, not Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I mean really, the civil ended over a century ago! The South lost and the North won, end of story. So we cannot have slaves anymore, big deal! Personally, owning another person seems rather pointless and idiotic to me, especially since slavery was probably always involuntary. But those are just my feelings on the matter.

However, not every reveller celebrates Lee's birthday just to show their unending spite and immaturity to the world. Some people honor Lee for the man he was, a courageous and brilliant general. He did not keep the Union army busy in Virginia for three years on sheer luck after all! However, this man was more than just a military might, for after the war, he lived a humble life as an example to all. Being such a brilliant man, he was given many offers that would have substantially increased his wealth, and yet he settled in as a public educator. This man truly shows that humility brings the highest form of admiration. To get to a detailed story of his life, or at least the war related parts, click here.

No matter how or why people celebrate his birthday, Robert E. Lee was a great man. He probably would not have enjoyed his life being celebrated in spite of the North, but I am more than sure that most people still spiteful of the civil war would beg to differ. Either way, this unofficial holiday has found a way into my calendar now, to give honor to a humble man that devoted his life to serving others, be his role protecting what and who he cared about or heading a teaching institution. Robert E. Lee, as a great man, not as a great southern general, deserves our respect and admiration.