took his stand by the side of General Early
and read his prayer, as follows:
, our Heavenly Father, the High and Mighty Ruler of the universe, who dost from Thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth, we are gathered together before Thee to attest in all humility our love and admiration for our great and noble leader.
It is right and proper to cherish and perpetuate to late generations the memory of the good and great, whose labors all through life and through the great trials of our common country have been to us a blessing and a glory.
Most gracious God, whose mercy is over all Thy works, Thou hast blessed our efforts (begun in loyalty and love by a few in our midst, but whose appeals were responded to by the universal and enthusiastic approval of our people,) so that now there stands before us the consummation of a people's gratitude, the monument to this grand and noble and heroic Christian
And as we now unveil his statue and show it forth to the world and the gaze of future generations, we would humbly pray for Thy blessing upon it; we would consecrate it in Thy name, and offer it as a people's thank-offering to Thee, our Heavenly Father; yes, we thank Thee and bless Thy holy name not only for the favor which has watched over our work of love, but, above all, that Thou, the giver of every good and perfect gift, in Thy gracious providence hast bestowed upon us the greatest of human gifts in raising among us and for us a man so true,
so noble, so unselfish, so gifted, and of such self-sacrificing heroism.
All honor and glory be unto Thee, O, Lord
, that Thou hast honored our land in the gift of Robert E. Lee
And we would present this monument to the whole world, to preserve in the hearts of all good men and for all time the memory of one whom even his enemies honor, and to whom we can look up as a shining light in all things that make men good and great, and who in his noble deeds and Christian spirit has proved himself faithful and true to God and man. But, oh!
of Mercies, we most humbly and prayerfully beseech Thee to bless that noble example to those among whom he lived and labored and suffered—a household blessing in every home in Virginia
and the South
May his memory be hallowed to what we may call his people!
May it be, and remain and grow more and more an influence for good in all that is true and honest and just and pure and lovely and of good report, every virtue, every praise, as indeed it was the great prayer and effort of his heart to his dying day, in token of which when the sword was sheathed he consecrated the last years of his life to the noble work of using all his God-given power and influence to the training, education, and elevation of the young, who are the hope of the country—the noblest work for the noblest of men. Oh!
may his name, his example, his teaching, be the heirloom of his glorious life, and his influence in all our hearts give undying value to the monument which we now unveil in the name of the Father
, Son, and Holy Ghost, whose is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever.