Jerry Punch


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“One of the books that I read about five years ago, by Robert Poole, was On Hallowed Ground. It is the story of the Arlington National Cemetery. I am such a military history buff that I wanted to read it. It chronicles the early days of the Washington family estate, where Robert E. Lee lived on the bluff overlooking Washington. It describes how Lee was summoned on several occasions to ride his horse into Washington, on the months before the Civil War erupted, and asked to assume the role of commander and chief of the Union forces. It chronicles his repeated response that, ‘I could never take up arms against my native Virginia.’

After he assumed a role as a General of the Confederate army of Virgina, the powers to be turned his home and surrounding grounds into a Union encampment and later a cemetery; thus assuring that it could never be returned to his family as an active farm or plantation site. However, in the early months of the war, Lee on occasion would ride through Federal lines at night to stay in his home with his wife and family. He rode directly past Union guards who never had any idea who he was. This book was revealing and enlightening to someone who revels and respects the storied history of this cemetery. There is no more hallowed ground that that which serves as the final resting place of our heroes; the men and women who have sacrificed for our freedom.”

Dr. Jerry Punch, ESPN, NASCAR commentator and motor sports reporter