A Convivium Toast to Robert E. Lee
All across the Order, today and in many other dates this spring, Active and Alumni Brothers lift their glasses of water to toast the Order’s Spiritual Founder. January 19th being Lee’s birthday, it is a time that Kappa Alpha Order celebrates for that fact as well as our founding (Convention, 1929). The image to the right is that of Robert E. Lee as painted by Robert Karr. Karr’s portrait hangs directly inside the National Administrative Office at Mulberry Hill, Lexington, Virginia. The toast below was originally delivered in 1923 at the Convention in Washington, DC. Then Former Knight Commander John Temple Graves gave it first – it has been delivered thousands of times since. Check back to the website and facebook/twitter for more on celebrating Convivium today!
A TOAST TO ROBERT E. LEE
With unbroken regularity and with unfailing reverent tenderness Kappa Alpha Order celebrates the Nineteenth Day of January.
Upon that day Robert E. Lee was born in Virginia.
Upon that day was really born the Creed and matchless ritual for Kappa Alpha Order. For when Lee was born the inspiration for the Creed was born.
Lee himself, living, loving, labouring perfectly in daily sight of those young men, was the proof and indication of the belief that it was possible for a living man to live up to the loftiest level of all human ideals. And in Lee was proved to Ammen’s eyes in the ideal and the realization of flawless manhood. The ideal and the example of perfect creed met and mingled in one man.
Samuel Z. Ammen wrote almost alone the initiatory observances of the Kappa Alpha Order, and his name will abide in its annuals while the Order lives.
Robert E. Lee inspired and visualized in actual living the matchless customs of our fraternity, and his name will live in our hearts and in human history forever. Ammen was the practical Founder, and for more than a half century has held the heart of Kappa Alpha; Lee was the spiritual Founder. Let us speak it hear tonight. It will not pluck one leaf from the laurels of Ammen. There is neither need nor room for another star in the diadem which history has fashioned for Lee: But the spirit of Lee inspired the spirit of Ammen; the Life of Lee had fired the heart of Ammen; the fingers of Lee has touched the fingers of Ammen that wrote the Creed.
Brothers will you please rise.
Knights, Gentlemen, Brethen: The Toast – water only.
Lift high your glasses here tonight, and in the liquid spotless as his fame, let us pledge for all time the SPIRITUAL FOUNDER OF KAPPA ALPHA ORDER – ROBERT EDWARD LEE OF OLD VIRGINIA!
Everyone together – ROBERT EDWARD LEE – Drink!