History isn’t forgotten. People are

A Confederate flag was lowered in South Carolina today and a few outcasts will insist history is being forgotten.

You know who was actually forgotten? Charles Schroeter, a Medal of Honor recipient for actions in the Union army in October 1869, while serving with Company G, 8th U.S. Cavalry in Arizona Territory.

But there’s no account of what actions led to the medal other than he was fighting Apache forces under Chief Cochise.

For more than 90 years after his death, his urn was left in an overgrown cemetery with other unclaimed urns.

“Schroeter served honorably and bravely – including being wounded – only to end up in the darkness of an unmarked grave,” said Douglas Ledbetter, director of the Miramar National Cemetery.

A private organization that has tracked down the graves of Medal of Honor recipients discovered Schroeter’s and called it to the attention of the military.

So yesterday, Schroeter got the attention he deserved, with a full military funeral, including a flyover by F-16s.

  • Postal Customer

    Someone, help me understand why they needed a ceremonial taking-down of the flag. I can think of a few reasons why they might want to do it that way. Is someone (e.g., the governor) benefiting from the powerful photo-op? Does South Carolina feel that they might not be taken seriously if they don’t do some major live TV event? Or is it perhaps for the benefit of the bereaved?

    I’d have opted for quickly and quietly removing it immediately after the bill was signed.

    • I think we have to acknowledge that there are two symbols of the flag. To some it honors those who fought in a war. To others it’s a display of support for segregation.

      I don’t believe that treating the flag properly necessarily shows respect for the idea of a segregated society.

      I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that an African American member of the State Patrol honor guard is the one who carried the flag away.

    • lindblomeagles

      I’m going to agree with Bob on this one, and I have a story to tell in support of Bob too. Arlington National Cemetery actually was owned by George Washington Custis Lee. Union soldiers occupied the land immediately after the Civil War was declared and never allowed Lee to come home or reclaim the property afterwards. By no coincidence, the Union began burying Union soldiers in Arlington, while simultaneously turning Lee’s land into a community and refugee resettlement training organization for Freed Black Slaves. During Reconstruction, an heir to the property sued the US Federal Government, claiming that America illegally seized property without cause/due process. It seems Lee was never brought up on treason charges or war crimes. The federal government, in a show of respect, paid Custis for that land, which we now know today as Arlington National Cemetery.

  • Nick K

    Well I’ll just say it – shouldn’t someone object to all this pomp and circumstance honoring a person for slaughtering Native Americans while in the process of stealing their land and destroying their way of life? I guess I fail to see the moral difference in flying a Confederate flag or having an F-16 flyover for an “Indian Fighter”.

  • Jerry

    A little nitpicking: in 1869 wouldn’t it have been just the U.S. Army, not the Union Army?

  • Jack Ungerleider

    History is written by the winners. When society undergoes shifts sometimes the loser’s story comes out. The traditional view of American history is that we’ve never been a colonial power, or at least we weren’t until the Spanish American War. But in reality we have always been a colonial power, we just chose not to see it that way.

    • Jerry

      Interestingly, one situation where that is not the case is the Civil War. Much of the popular perception of the war is due to southern writers (of both fiction and non-fiction). After the war, the North busied itself making as much money as possible and settling (conquering) the west. It is the south which put its efforts into mythologizing the Lost Cause and trying to explain and excuse its defeat

    • lindblomeagles

      Jack is correct. The Eastern Seaboard, representing the 13 Colonies, was filled with Native American Tribes, but by 1776, these tribes were pushed back into the interior. If you read the Declaration of Independence in its entirety, it says the Colonists wanted to move west onto Indian land, but the British wouldn’t allow them too. The Mexican American War occurred due to suspicious circumstances, and there’s an entire history lost OR purposefully not told regarding how we treated the Mexicans who had already lived in the American Southwest. The Spanish American War was another trumped up war, and Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Rider turned Central America into American fiefdoms well into the 20th Century. We entered World War I too late to gain anything there, and fought most of World War II in the South Pacific, retaking all the countries Japan took. Korea was a land race with the Soviets and America originally wanted to return Southeast Asia to the French who were the colonial masters of Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The Gulf War was established under “fishy” circumstances in 1991, only to be re-established again under “fishy” circumstances in 2003. And I won’t even start on all the double dealing, back alley channels the CIA did. All you need to know that our relations with Iran started with a CIA led coup in 1953.