A sweeping push to relocate Confederate memorials began with a deadly clash over a 14-foot tall, bronze figurine honoring the Confederacy’s top general.
WDVM asked Robert E. Lee IV how his great grandfather would react to last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville.
“He was a man that wanted to reunite the country, and this is doing the opposite. It’s pulling the country apart,” said the 92-year old.
When Lee IV looks up at his great grandfather’s statue, he glows with pride, remembering the general’s work after the war, dedicated to reuniting the country and promoting education as president of Washington and Lee College.
It’s what inspired Lee IV to serve in WWII, and later, on the board of Saint James School in Hagerstown for 20 years.
“We don’t discuss anymore,” Lee IV said. “We argue.”
Lee IV acknowledges the location of a Confederate statue can have powerful implications, and while he would rather see the general’s statue remain, he said every town has the right to discuss and decide what to do.
“I don’t have to enjoy your opinion, but I’d like to hear it, and I would hope you’d like to hear mine,” Lee IV said.
In his Bethesda retirement community, Lee IV read an excerpt from the general’s diary:
“One great duty of life is the promotion of the happiness and welfare of our fellow man.”
He said this is not the writing of a man who would support domestic terrorism.