I was guiding a group at Arlington Cemetery not so long ago when, during our conversation about the history of the place, I referred to the infamous occupant of the house on the hill as Robert E. Lee, Confederate general and traitor.

A member of the group said that he was not a traitor, which led me to gently suggest that he was not only a traitor, but he also was the very textbook definition of one.

To wit: a person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc.

Robert E. Lee was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army who took the following oath:

“I will bear true allegiance to the United States of America, and that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies or opposers whatsoever, and observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States, and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the rules and articles for the government of the Armies of the United States.”


Lee resigned from the Army to take up arms against his country during the Civil War in an act both traitorous and disgraceful.

In doing so, he became directly responsible for the deaths of more than 700,000 combatants and civilians.

At war’s end, Lee knew he was a traitor. He applied for a pardon and amnesty and took the Oath of Amnesty in October 1865.

Despite taking the oath, he was never pardoned, nor did he again enjoy citizenship in his lifetime.

Whether you love or hate war statues, states’ rights, slavery, moonshine, etc., does not change the basic facts of history.

It is the ultimate act of political correctness to go along with the idea or notion that Lee is a venerated hero; he is anything but.

It’s also historical revisionism run amok.


Leave’em up or take’em down, but always speak the truth.

I don’t need a statue of Lee to point out his disgraceful conduct, but if one is available, I’ll certainly use it.

Eric Lamar is a D.C. city guide.