It was 1865 and General Lee was about to surrender to Grant ending the war that brought the most bloodshed of all wars between the north and the south. They meet at the Appomattox Court House. Lee exhausted, waits for Grant to arrive. Hearing a large group of horsemen galloping up to the house, General U.S. Grant walks into the parlor where Lee is sitting. He wears a private uniform has affixed shoulder boards bearing the three stars of a lieutenant general, otherwise there is nothing impressive about his appearance. Removing his yellow cloth riding gloves, Grant steps forward and shakes Lee’s hand. They had met years ago in the Mexican War when Lee was promoted to colonel and Grant was scolded by Lee because of his appearance, only this time U.S. Grant had the upper hand. After much talk Lee speaks about the reason for their meeting. “I suppose, General Grant, that the object of our present meeting is fully understood, Lee says. I asked to see you to ascertain upon what terms you would receive the surrender of my army.”
Grant calls for his order book, a thin volume of yellow paper with carbon sheets. He lights a cigar and stares at a page to compose the sequence of words that will amicably end the war. Lees watches Grant with great anticipation. When Grant is finished, he hands the book over to Lee. He digests the words in silence ready to be taken prisoner and accept the terms and conditions of his surrender. The terms, however, are remarkable in their lenience. Lee will not even have to surrender his sword. The words written on that most memorable moment in history are simple: “Put down your guns and go home. Let’s rebuild the nation together.” This was President Lincoln’s vision and Grant subscribed.
Over 600,000 lives were lost in that war, more than any other in history and it all ended with forgiveness. A mulligan. A second chance at life. You can rebuild your life. You can be restored. It all starts will forgiveness. You must move forward and leave the past behind you forever. Our memories won’t forget, but our hearts will heal and we will live again.