Southern Discomfort: U.S. Army seeks removal of Lee, ‘Stonewall’ Jackson honors

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by MemberLG, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    From Washington Times 17 Dec

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/dec/17/robert-e-lee-and-stonewall-jackson-tributes-face-a/

    Thoughts?
     
  2. emwvmi01

    emwvmi01 Member

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  3. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    from the message

    More than likely I will visit the War College this spring, so I can revive the thread.

    Makes me wonder who is "one of my leaders" that is powerful or bold enough to take down paintings in a public hallway. Or is it anything goes at the War College.
     
  4. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    Well these two were never held in high regard in my neck of the woods. That said a lot of the tradition of honoring these generals was a way to remember the many Southern soldiers that served them and who lost their lives in the war. As time goes on and the Southern memory fades of community and family losses in the war, it becomes increasingly difficult to justify these type of honors.

    another similiar news article (yesterday) on a High School in Jacksonsville, Florida changing its name from Nathan Bedford Forrest High School.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/...-honoring-kkk-founder-nathan-bedford-forrest/

    I guess the North has finally won!
     
  5. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    There's no reason to honor them. I've never understood why they are but the military. In general, I don't think they are honored, widely, but I understand when some schools like Citadel and VMI do, but certainly not the military.
     
  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Woah! That's treading on thin ice! :rolleyes: (I'm actually assuming you were being a little flippant here).

    I was raised in upstate NY and went to college 30 minutes from the Canadian border. My ancestors fought for the Union in the Civil War. Nevertheless, long before I ever even dreamed of moving south of the Mason-Dixon line I held Lee and Jackson in high esteem for both their character and their military accomplishments, if not brilliance. Now, perhaps their images have been burnished somewhat along with the "Lost Cause", but what they accomplished in some of their campaigns needs no such enhancement. I'm sure that some of their campaigns are actually studied at the War College, as well they should be. Which makes one wonder why anyone would consider removing a portrait of someone you deem worthy of study.

    The second link says it's much ado about nothing, and I'll take it at it's word. But the Commandant should remember... we're watching! :eek:
     
  7. Beaz

    Beaz Member

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    My ancestors served under Jackson (28 NC INF) and Forest (28th Miss Cav.) Lee and Jackson were allowed to be honored so that a nation might heal. Forest is a different story.
     
  8. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Just curious on people's thoughts on Confederate officers?

    Were they traitors?

    Only traitors if they were serving in the Federal Army, but they resigned their commission when they switched over.
     
  9. CannotBeDisplayed

    CannotBeDisplayed Member

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    It might be the native Texan in me speaking, but I think Lee and Jackson were honorable men worthy of respect, as were most of their soldiers who gave their lives. It's the War College, and these two men developed their war skills in America as American officers. Their stories and tactics are still studied today by folks in the north and the south.

    Having grown up all over Texas and meeting a lot of people from other southern states (including my own father, a Marine), I can assure you that these men's memories are not fading in our culture.
     
  10. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    I can never diminish the brilliance of Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson and many of the other Southern Generals in how they overmatched their Union counterparts for most of the war. I can also say that about Rommell. They were all just on the bad side.

    I cant deny that the Southern Soldier fought for his family and home. If I was in their shoes I would have done the same.
     
  11. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    Well, these two were always held in high regard in my neck of the woods. Three of my four G-Grandfathers were in the CSA. The fourth, too young, was the son of a Presbyterian minister, born in VA, who was kicked out of St. Louis for supposed sympathies for the rebel cause. He was later allowed to return and reinstated to his church by order of President Lincoln, prior to the war's end. I grew up referring to the Civil War as the War Between the States.

    My Grandmother's Great Aunt was Gen. Jackson's second wife, whose name my sister carries. I remember visiting his grave in Lexington, VA on several occasions as a boy. I have yet to visit his arm's grave. My Great Uncles attended Washington and Lee University. The respect she taught us had nothing to do with "the cause". As a clear headed 98 yr. old woman she voted for Jesse Jackson in the 1984 Democratic primary.

    I know nothing of the Generals' military genius, but have always accepted the hagiographic accounts of their bravery and humanity. Honoring them, as Norwich said, is one way of honoring the 100,000's who fought honorably and died at Bull Run of Gettysburg. It is not unlike honoring Ike as a way of honoring those who fell on the Beaches of Normandy.

    Each person should be judged within the context of his/her own time. The United States were hardly united states back then. The notion of one nation did not exist then as it does now. That is why President Lincoln stands out today. He saw something which did not exist. Gen. Lee deserves at least the same respect shown by Gen. Grant on the orders of Lincoln.

    Forrest, as Beaz says, is another story.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  12. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Agree but there are many today who like to rewrite history to fit our modern sensibilities.
     
  13. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Well it rather depends on what you are honoring. To the 21st century American was there much in the Confederacy that should be honored? No, I don't think so. But the war was fought in the 19th century not the 21st Century, and there clearly was a different view of the United States as an entity in 1860than in 2013. Lee and Jackson felt that their primary allegiance was to their home state not the Federal Government and acted accordingly- a view taken by an awful lot of their peers. They are honored (if that is the right word) because they were technically and tactically superb practicioners of the Military Art.

    If we no longer recognize our own military leaders of the past because we strongly disagree in 2014 with their cause and motivations- where does it end? Most Americans today recognize the Indian Wars as unjust wars against an indigenous people- should we no longer recognize the soldiers who fought those wars? Should we vilify Phil Sheridan, Nelson Miles etc...? How about the wars of conquest in Mexico or the Philippines- causes that we would no longer fall in line behind because of a different view of things? Applying contemporary parameters to the past is a bad idea and is the mark of limited understanding of both history and the world- it really is the same trait that has us evaluate local cultures by our own standards, something for which the US is frequently castigated around the world. The Army War College is supposed to be an intellectual center of the Army-so demonstrate some sophisticated understanding of history and leave Jackson and Lee where they are is my humble opinion.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  14. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    The Army War College and any serious military officer better study the tactics of the "enemies of the U.S." as well as our allies. We also need to look at successful practioners across history: Rommell, Ghengis Kahn, Akbar, Napolean, Julious Cesear, Ataturk, Montgomery, Georgy Zhukov, Atilla the Hun, etc

    These guys fall on all sides of the good guy/ bad guy spectrum but they were all brilliant military leaders.

    We should also study the less-than-brilliant leaders and learn from their mistakes.

    This is what "professional" military leaders do.

    Hanging a picture isn't erecting a memorial or honoring them. Art is another way of introducing these historical figures and bringing attention to them.
     
  15. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    This story is redolent of an effort to manufacture outrage. That being said, it's always worthwhile to examine our history.
     
  16. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    I enjoyed LTG "Big Tony" Cucolo's response. As the former PAO of the Army, he handled it well. He's an outstanding officer.
     
  17. thepalmers4

    thepalmers4 Member

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    Part of me gets LTG Cucolo's “one of my leaders...simply wanted to change the look of the hallway” idea, but part of me sees this as an example of the political pressure to conform and produce evidence that certain issues are being corrected. It is difficult to overestimate the intensity of this pressure, which at times seems to overwhelm common sense, tradition, and even the justice system. Other examples are the AFA informant program, changes to the AFA honor oath, and the experience of former USMA cadet Trent Cromartie. These have been discussed at length on this forum.
     
  18. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I don't mean to divert the thread here and hope I don't... but I believe the most relevant part of the oath is the following:
    The oath isn't to defend the United States itself, but the Constitution of the United States. In the context of their times I believe that Lee and others believed they were defending the Constitution from domestic enemies, at least in some sense. They certainly didn't see themselves as treasonous, and I think the topic is open for debate.

    Clearly in the context of our own times they were treasonous. But then again, we could face such an issue sometime in our future over some "clear" Constitutional abrogation. What then?
     
  19. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    This is a good discussion, at least for me. Blind loyalty is dangerous. I was just following orders don't work. We can't defend a document, I don't think. We should defend the ideas associated with the document. Not a Constitutional scholar, but I don't think the Constitution prohibited secession?

    What do we do when the executive branch ignores the Constitution? Should military officers arrest folks?
     
  20. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Fortunately, our system of government works (albeit slowly, oftentimes). We don't need a military that tries to be judge-jury-and-executioner, because our Judicial system still functions, Congress still makes laws, and the Executive still executes the law. Sure, there are exceptions, delays, and abuses, but it isn't to the point of a failure of civil society. Thank God!
     

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