Here in Virginia, we celebrate Lee-Jackson Day as a tribute to two military leaders who greatly influenced the history of our state. As a United States history teacher, history nut, and avid reader of anything related to the Civil War, I am particularly interested in the lives and contributions of these and other important figures throughout our state's history. Here is the proclamation from our governor, Bob McDonnell, regarding this day:
WHEREAS, Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson are native Virginians, having served our great nation and Commonwealth as educators, leaders, and military strategists; and
WHEREAS, Lee served in the United States Army for more than three decades until he left his position to serve as Commander in Chief of Virginia’s military forces and as Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia; and
WHEREAS, Jackson taught philosophy and military tactics as a professor at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington for nearly a decade before serving briefly in the United States Army and later joining the Confederate Army to fight for his native Virginia; and
WHEREAS, Lee dedicated his life after the Civil War to reforming higher education in the South by serving as President of Washington College, now Washington & Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, where he helped to greatly increase the school’s funding and expand the curriculum to create an atmosphere most conducive to learning for young men of both Southern and Northern heritage; and
WHEREAS, Jackson’s leadership and bravery enabled him to rally his troops to several improbable victories against numerically superior forces, and Jackson’s inspired “Stonewall Brigade” fought alongside General Lee’s troops in another victory, even after their leader was fatally wounded on the second day of the Battle of Chancellorsville; and
WHEREAS, it is fitting to recognize Generals Lee and Jackson as two of our nation’s most notable military strategists, as beloved leaders among their troops, as pioneers in the field of higher education, and as faithful and dedicated Virginians;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert F. McDonnell, do hereby recognize January 14, 2011 as LEE-JACKSON DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of our citizens.