To the editor:
Regardless of the numerous inconveniences posed by changing the name of Lee Street, there is an unwarranted rush to judgement in contemplating this action. The Lee family is an integral part of Alexandria and Virginia historyand are part of a storied past; the Lees were connected through the Carter and Randolph families with many other distinguished Americans.
Anna Maria Mason, one of George Mason’s granddaughters, married Robert’s brother, Sydney Smith Lee. At one time, the Lees owned 10 homes in Alexandria.
It was in Alexandria that Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee III wrote that George Washington was “First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life.” George Washington was a frequent visitor to the Lee-Fendall house, in which no less than 37 Lee members lived or stayed from 1785 to 1903.
The Lees are also connected to Washington, D.C. Robert E. Lee’s wife, Mary Custis Lee, was the daughter of George Washington Parke Custis and the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington.
Please reconsider the proposal to rename this street. One cannot learn from history if it is eradicated. All of this is on top of the fact that if this initiative is enacted by City Council, total chaos will result in the lives of those citizens who have to have to change their addresses on all their legal documents. A large task within itself. Choose wisely, Alexandra!
-Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet, Alexandria