Blog Post

New Narratives in an American Story of War and Growth

Joseph R. Miller, Ph.D. Student. University of Maine

On December 26, 1799 Colonel Richard “Harry” Henry Lee (father of Robert E. Lee) delivered a eulogy for George Washington to the U.S. Congress.

"First in war—first in peace—and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and enduring scenes of private life; pious, just, humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform, dignified, and commanding, his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting. To his equals he was condescending, to his inferiors kind, and to the dear object of his affections exemplarily tender; correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence, and virtue always felt his fostering hand; the purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues. His last scene comported with the whole tenor of his life—although in extreme pain, not a sigh, not a groan escaped him; and with undisturbed serenity he closed his wellspent life. Such was the man America has lost—such was the man for whom our nation mourns."

Ideas, naturally, have changed over time. Few in our present society recognize that the nation’s founding father was a powerful symbol of the transition from military to civilian life in his own time. The hero of the American Revolution was also an enduring symbol of Post-Traumatic Growth before psychology was a recognized intellectual endeavor. Read More.

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