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Letter: What about the city name of Edward Lea?

As events of today continue to evolve, it’s important to take stock of what we represent as people by those we celebrate. I grew up in Albert Lea and left her to join the Navy in 1974. It is still home to much of my family. I still do and always will consider it my home. As a young boy, I thought it cool that our city was named after a colonel, but never carried the thought much further. Recently, I did some research on our city namesake. He was a civil engineer who worked for a good while in Missouri. And, at some point, he ended up in Iowa, where he became a brigadier general in the Iowa militia. But as the Civil War broke out, he made a conscious decision to defect from the Union-aligned Iowa militia, and joined the confederacy in Texas. Interestingly enough, a few years later, then Confederate Lt. Colonel Albert Lea participated in the battle of Galveston. During this battle, the USRC Harriet Lane was disabled and captured by the Confederacy. As the battle subsided, Lt. Col. Lea hurried down the ramparts to board the Lane, as he knew his son was on the ship as the second officer. He found his son, Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lea alive, but mortally wounded.

So here I present Lt. Col. Albert Lea and his son, Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lea. To history, Albert Lea was a traitor to our country and purposely defected to join the ranks of those who would oppress and enslave. And Edward Lea, who served the United States in opposition to these hateful values.

Perhaps it’s time to consider what we as a people represent, who we honor and what they really stood for. I find it very interesting that Minnesota, a Union state, would allow a city to be named after such a traitor when there is so much more a hero in his son. But such were the times back then. But I think I’d rather see Edward Lea Lake, Edward Lea Airport, and the dot where I-35 and I-90 cross as Edward Lea. Honor to the hero who died as he stood against oppression.

I welcome your considerations.

Terry Mummert

Summerville, South Carolina