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Our principles still live.

I said our cause was lost, but it was lost only in the sense that we did not accomplish that for which we struggled, but the principles for which we contended still live. Clouds may obscure the sun, but it still shines; truth may be crushed to the earth, but it will rise again; principles of justice and right may be trampled under the feet of demagogues and fanatics, but they still survive. All else may change and decay. Passing away is written upon all material things. ‘The grass of the field withereth; the flower thereof fadeth, the wind passeth over it, and it is gone.’ The tiny leaf springing from the expanding twig changes its color from summer beauty to autumnal loveliness, and falls in withered worthlessness to the ground, teaching man who treads upon it a lesson of his own destiny. The granite peaks that stand like sentinels keeping watch over the valleys below, that have withstood the frost of centuries, around whose heads the lightnings of Heaven have harmlessly played, and on whose crest the lurid bolt as it leaped from the bosom of the storm-cloud has spent its force in vain, will succumb to the corroding touch of time and pass away. But the principles of right, which spring from the Eternal Throne, will survive ‘the wreck of matter and crush of worlds,’ and shine with resplendent lustre when illumined by the pure light of eternity.

The struggle was ended, the soldier perished, but the principles for which he fought survive, and I believe that the time will come when the Southern soldier will not only stand acquitted, but justified by the verdict of the world. [362]

What means this building with the significant name of ‘Lee Camp?’ What means the hundreds of similar organizations all over the Southland? They speak in no unmeaning language. They tell us that though our cause is lost in the sense that the independence of the Southern Confederacy was not achieved; that though we were wasted and worn and all was lost, we saved our honor and our manhood, and we cannot forget our heroes. Sacred history tells us that one of the disciples proposed that three tabernacles should be raised on the mount of transfiguration, and in all ages of the world heroic deeds of men and nations have been commemorated by their fellow-citizens. Show me a land where there are no churches whose spires point heavenward, commemorative of the great work finished on Calvary, as told in that Book, suspended as it were in the zenith of the moral heaven, bidding all men to look, believe, and live; show me a land where there are no tombs of marble, no statues of bronze, no monuments of granite, erected to commemorate heroic, self-sacrificing deeds, and I will show you a people lost to every lofty emotion, without an ennobling sentiment, fit subjects to be the dupes of demagogues and the slaves of the ambitious. No, no; we cannot forget the boys who wore the gray and offered their lives for what they believed to be right.

On fame's eternal camping ground
     Their silent tents are spread;
While glory guards with solemn round
     The bivouac of the dead.

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