In these contentious times, with Confederate statues being removed from public places around the country, we are reprinting this story.
Asked why he kept a picture of Robert E. Lee in his White House office, our 34th President wrote:
General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fau...
From deep conviction, I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that presentday American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.
Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of this great American on my office wall.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
August 9, 1960