- May 8, 2015
- Pittsburgh, PA
I agree that Lee was an honorable man who was faced with a tragic choice. Stiil, George Henry Thomas, a man whom I consider not merely honorable, but a hero, was faced with essentially the same choice. Perhaps the difference was in the differing probable influences of their respective wives.I think people lack empathy in these situations. Regardless of what the motivations were for the start of the Civil War, a lot of these mens decisions came down to "Can I march into my hometown, with an army of thousands at my back, and order those soldiers to shoot the people I grew up with?" With as divisive as this country is today, I really don't think people would be so quick to make that decision when actually granted the power. Do you think, if tomorrow, you were handed complete control of the United States Military and told to march into your current town of residence and open fire on anyone and everyone, would you do it? Even if the town was full of awful capitalistic republicans or awful socialistic democrats? Would you really be able to order the deaths of the barber that cuts your hair? The school teachers that taught your kids? Would you be able to fire on Jim, the guy you ate lunch with for 15 years with at the factory? Would you be able to shoot your brother in law? Would you be able to shoot your brother? Think about what people are genuinely asking of Lee here.....
When Lee was offered command of the Union army, that was the decision he was faced with. It was as simple as "I can't march an army into my home town. I would rather defend my home town and all that I know." The guy was married to Washingtons great granddaughter for crying out loud. You couldn't find a more "patriotic American" than Lee in 1860. I think if people put themselves in his shoes for 5 minutes, things wouldn't be so black and white. The debate boils down to; does honor mean "as an officer of the United States army do I obey orders without hesitation and do what I'm asked?" or does honor mean "I am going home to protect my family, my town, and those that I know about."