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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: Waiting for the Robert E. Lee

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Waiting for the Robert E. Lee

By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr., Speaker, Writer of short stories, Author of book “When America stood for God, Family and Country” and Chairman of the National and Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Confederate History and Heritage Month committee.

Winston Churchill once said, "The most beautiful voice in the world is that of an educated Southern woman.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans,, hosted their 118th National Reunion during the month of July, 2013 in Vicksburg, Mississippi and Christine Barr an award-winning professor of English and resident of Katy, Texas wrote a beautiful article about the SCV Convention and Southern Heritage. Read more at:

Do you remember the movie and the actor who said, “I give you our homeland, glorious in defeat, gallant in victory and brave in her hour of grief…Gentlemen, I give you the South and confusion to all her enemies?” See the answer at end of article.

You ain’t just whistling Dixie; I’m American by birth and Southern by the grace of God and….

Do you remember when men and women of African, Asian, European, Hispanic, Jewish, Oriental and American-Indian ancestry were proud to be Americans? In the peach state, we are Georgia Crackers, love catfish and hush puppies, miss Lewis Grizzard and stand up when the band plays the National Anthem or Dixie. We once even had a baseball team called the “Atlanta Crackers” but still love RC Cola and moon pies, fly Delta and read “Uncle Remus” stories to our children.

A young Southern lady recently told me that songs like “Dixie” and “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee” offended some people and probably why they should not be played.

The question today might be are we still the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave or have we become the land of the offended and home of always complaining people?

It seems like some folks are offended by anything they don’t understand, while others aren’t offended but are afraid to speak up in fear of being called racist…But, then there are many brave folks who proudly stand up for what they believe is right.

During my childhood of the 50s, songs like “Swanee River”, “Mammy” and “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee”, all best sung by the late great Al Jolson, were very popular in the South and throughout the USA. At my elementary school we sang songs that included a Southern--War Between the States song “Goober Peas.” There are probably some who have a problem with this song about Confederate soldiers sitting of the road side and eating goober peas—peanuts…But, even Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, played by Alan Alda, on the 70s hit TV show “Mash” sang this song in one of those many memorable episodes.

Do you remember the grand finally in the 1941 movie “Babes on Broadway” starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland? The song performed was “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee” written by Louis Wolfe Gilbert and Lewis Muir that include these words: “Way down on the levy in old Alabamy, there’s Daddy and Mammy, there’s Ephraim and Sammy. On a moonlight night you can find them while they are waiting, the banjos are syncopating what’s that they’re saying. What’s that they’re saying? While they keep playing a-humming and swaying it’s the good ship Robert E. Lee.”

As a child my Mother woke my sister and me on schools days with such wonderful songs such as: “zippy de doo dah” from the 1946 Disney movie “Song of the South.”

The answer to the question at beginning of this article is the great Lionel Barrymore in the classic 1935 Fox movie “The Little Colonel” also starring the delightful Shirley Temple.

You all come back now, you here!


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