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 Governor McKinney arose and called the vast assemblage to order. He spoke as follows: As chairman of the Lee-Monument Association it becomes my duty to call this meeting to order, and on the behalf of that organization to express its gratification at this vast assemblage of fair women and brave men who have come to witness the consummation of its labors, to do honor to the memory of Robert Edward Lee, and give to them a cordial welcome. With no disloyalty in our hearts to the Government under which we live, and with no desire to awaken or perpetuate old animosities, we come with sacred memory for our cause—which is lost—with a love and admiration for our dear ones who have fallen, which is unconquerable and eternal. This is the feeling of the Southern people. Some will condemn us; they may as well find fault with Nature's God because He kisses Confederate graves with showers, and smiles upon them with His sunshine, and garlands them with flowers. It is evidenced by this great gathering from every State of the Confederacy. Texas, the most remote, is represented by her gallant soldiers, who fought under Lee and Jackson, commanded by one who was loyal to the Confederacy while it lived, and who loves its memory still—a member of the Cabinet then, and now United States Senator. Louisiana is here represented by the Washington Artillery, which came so early to the aid of Virginia, and did such splendid service upon many hard-fought fields, and, alas! has left so many of its gallant hearts to rest forever upon her soil. And with them is Longstreet, that ‘old war-horse’ who led the First corps of the army of Northern Virginia. Many of his old soldiers are here to-day, and all will greet him with unspeakable pleasure. Georgia is here with many of her noble sons, and with them comes Gordon, whose name is as familiar to the veterans of the grand old army as those of Jackson and Lee. Florida and Alabama are here with their gallant sons bringing fresh garlands of flowers from their beautiful lands to crown the soldier whose statue we will this day unveil. North and South Carolina are here, Virginia's eldest sisters, with  hearts as brave in 1861 as in 1776—led by Hampton and Hoke, and others, as loyal to Liberty as were the fathers of the Revolution. Old Virginia, God bless her! is here! From the Ohio to the ocean her children are gathered. Every home, every heart is represented here, not in sorrow, not in anger. As proud as conquering heroes they come to do honor to their older brother, and to challenge the world in all its ages to produce a grander man than Robert Edward Lee. Arkansas is here with her gallant sons, among whom is her distinguished Senator Berry, who lost a limb in our service. Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, and West Virginia are here, represented by distinguished officers, true old veterans, and splendid young troops to honor the memory of their leader. Mississippi must not be forgot—she is here with many representatives. There is one who is absent, a patriotic mother, a lone widow—she wears no rude scars of war, but she has suffered for us as none have suffered since Gethsemane. Crushed by sorrow and by care she is too infirm to attempt the long journey, but in heart she is with us. Could she have come these brave men would have welcomed her with filial affection, and this vast assembly would be complete. There is one other of whom a word must be spoken, the oldest of our generals now living—the classmate of Lee. They graduated together; together they began the soldier's proud and perilous life; together fought the battles of their country before the birth of the Confederacy; together they followed the fortunes of their native State; together they obtain the highest military rank in our army; one has been taken to whom the honor will be granted of lifting the veil and introducing to the world the heroic statue of his life-long friend. We welcome General Joseph E. Johnston to-day, and all unite in the prayer that his life may yet be spared for years to come in the land he loves and has served so faithfully. I do not mention all. I am surrounded by the representatives from every State in this Union, who have come with loyal hearts to do honor to the memory of him who is honored by the civilized world for his great genius and the purity of his character, and of whom all true Americans should be proud. It is not my purpose nor my duty to make a speech, but I am simply to introduce to you the presiding officer. He is fitly chosen, one of the friends and companions of Lee, and one of his most distinguished generals—one who has never been false to friend or foe,  and whose heart has never had a throb disloyal to Virginia or the South. It gives me pleasure to introduce to you General Jubal A. Early, of Virginia.
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