But at Gettysburg, just south of the town and west of the Emmitsburg Road near the tree-line from which 12-15,000 Confederate soldiers emerged on the third day of battle to attack the United States army on Cemetery Ridge, stands a tall marble and bronze statue of General Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. It’s not the only Confederate monument on the actual battlefield, but it’s certainly the most striking and the most famous. At the peak of the obelisk is Lee mounted atop his horse, Traveler, staring out at the battlefield. Just below him are heroic bronze representations of random Virginia Confederates.
This general committed treason against the United States. By definition, he was a traitor who commanded a rebel army against the U.S. and inflicted unprecedented casualties. Specifically, General Lee’s invasion of the north and advance into Gettysburg was responsible for the aforementioned 23,040 United States military casualties, and, of those 23,040 casualties, 3,155 were killed on that ground.
Yet there’s a statue at Gettysburg honoring the fiercest enemy of the United States at that time. Had Lee been victorious, the United States as we know it today would not exist. But he gets a statue on Pennsylvania soil — a statue which, by the way, stands at the exact same height as the statue to U.S. General George Gordon Meade, the commander of the Army of the Potomac (and a Pennsylvanian).
On a side note, the issue of the building of the mosque is a hyper-sensitive topic for Americans. Yet its being debated to death by all sides in public. I wish we Malaysians could do the same for the topics that we consider hyper-sensitive, such as religion, race and politics. Are our people so far behind the West that we can’t trust ourselves to be mature and responsible in such debates?