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Robert E. Lee Opposed War Monuments

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As debates continue over the removal of Confederate statues in U.S. cities, reports have pointed out that even one of the Confederacy's most revered fighters rejected them.

General Robert E. Lee thought that putting up war monuments would only prolong the hostilities produced by conflict, the New York Post reports.

In 1869, the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association asked Lee to attend an event to discuss putting up monuments to commemorate the battle.

"My engagements will not permit me to be present, & I believe if there I could not add anything material to the information existing on the subject," Lee wrote in response, according to the Post.

He then proceeded to argue against the proposal.

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"I think it wiser moreover not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife & to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered," he added.

A number of cities and other jurisdictions have decided to remove Confederate monuments following the violence at a rally organized by White supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12.

On Aug. 15, President Donald Trump said counter-protesters were equally to blame for the clashes and described some members of the white supremacist protest as "very fine people."

"Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments," Trump tweeted on Aug. 17.

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Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer disagrees. He argued in an Aug. 18 statement that Confederate statues, including the one of Robert E. Lee in the city's Emancipation Park that triggered the Aug. 12 protest, should be removed.

A day prior to the protests on Aug. 11, neo-Nazis carried torches in a march during which they chanted "Jews will not replace us" and "blood and soil," a reference to a slogan used by the Nazis, The Washington Post reports.

Signer referred to the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was struck by a 20-year-old neo-Nazi sympathizer's car. Many more counter-protesters were injured in the attack.

"With the terrorist attack, these monuments were transformed from equestrian statues into lightning rods," added Signer, according to Western Journalism. "We can, and we must, respond by denying the Nazis and the KKK and the so-called alt-right the twisted totem they seek."

"And so for the sake of public safety, public reassurance, to magnify Heather's voice, and to repudiate the pure evil that visited us here, I am calling today for the removal of these Confederate statues from downtown Charlottesville," he added.

Charlottesville City Council voted in February to remove the statue and sell it. At the time, Signer voted against this decision.

Sources: New York Post, CNN, Donald J. Trump/Twitter, Western Journalism, The Washington Post / Featured Image: The New Student's Reference Work via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Shealah Craighead/The White House/FlickrGray Wolf/Wikimedia Commons

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