I wonder how Lee felt at Appomattox

or Napoleon at Waterloo

knowing that at one point, they stood an inch from victory

at arms length from glory

but couldn’t quite reach.

Were they mutely resigned to their assigned fates in history?

Or did they rage internally over their one lost battle,

their one lost campaign,

as if the world had just grazed against their fingertips

and flew on by without them.

And what about the men across the tables?

Did Grant know the world he forged with young men from Germany,

Ireland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Kentucky?

Could Wellington see the wars that would rage one hundred years later,

over the same things?

If they could, would they have acted differently?

Hard to say

Writers have told stories of how one small change in history could change the world

but can the flapping of a butterfly’s wing make the Nazis win the war?

Could a scrap of paper and three cigars make our one country two?

Let’s hope not and remember happily that Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

Posted by Wes Laudeman

Writer, hiker, and future teacher, I'm looking for stories and adventures that will last a lifetime.

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