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By John McCaslin
June 2004

No offense to the Confederate Memorial Committee of the District of Columbia, but we always chuckle when reading our annual invitation to the Confederate Memorial Ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, site of the 90-year-old Arlington Confederate Monument.

"This year we have expanded our program ... and we will now increase the number of verses of 'Dixie' to five!" reads the invitation.

"If you cannot hold up while singing five verses of 'Dixie,' then just take a few seconds to listen to the strains of this Confederate anthem as it floats across the countryside once belonging to Robert E. Lee."

Lee wrote that his affections and attachments to his 1,100-acre estate and mansion overlooking the Potomac River - atop what is now Arlington National Cemetery - "are more strongly placed than at any other place in the world."

On April 17, 1861, Virginia adopted an Ordinance of Secession. Five days later, Lee resigned his commission in the U.S. Army and left for Richmond. The next time he saw his confiscated estate it had become a military cemetery.

Sunday's ceremonies (June 6) begin at 3 p.m. at the Confederate Monument. This year's speaker is James Robertson Jr., great-grandson of a Confederate soldier and alumni distinguished professor at Virginia Tech. Today his Civil War Era class, with 250 students each semester, is the largest of its kind in the nation.

Posted: 4 June 2004