The country is in the mood for racial justice and the military has taken the lead on it. Both the Navy and Marine Corps have banned Confederate flags from their bases. The Army is expected to follow soon. This is obviously the correct decision. The confederates waged war against our soldiers and sailors to keep black men and women in chains. Their flag has no place on a US base than a Nazi or Soviet flag.
The US Army was considering going even further. 10 army bases are named after Confederate generals. The army was looking into changing that. Former General David Petraeus even weighed in in support. Sadly, President Trump has squashed that (unless the Congress gets involved). Call me crazy, but there is something really messed up about having Army bases named after confederate leaders which would want our black soldiers in bondage.
Regardless, the change is likely inevitable. In that spirit, here are 9 alternatives of heroes that fought for this country– not against it– and for freedom for all.
1. Ulysses S Grant
What can I say? Grant was a genius tactician and strategist that led Union forces to victory in every battle– and that’s not even getting into his civil rights record as President. He had a fort back before World War 1 and needs one again today.
2. Thecumpsa Sherman
Like Grant, Sherman was a machine at crushing Confederate forces. Few men deserve more credit for keeping the union together than he does.
3. George Thomas
Thomas was a brilliant general that stayed loyal to his country even as his state left the union. He made the hard choice when others didn’t. The Rock of Chickamauga played a massive role in saving the Union and should be honored for it.
4. William Carney
Carney was the son of an escaped slave. He eventually joined a all-black Massachusetts Infantry company. When the color guard was killed in battle, Carney caught the flag before it hit the ground and– despite being hit by two musket balls– brought it across the battlefield back to Union lines. “Boys, I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground!”
5. Pawhatan Beaty
During a Union retreat, the color bearer was killed. Beaty– in the middle of a battle– ran 600 yards toward the enemy to save the flag. With all the Officers dead and only 16 men– including Beaty– alive without wounds, Beaty took command and led a charge which captured the Confederate position.
6. Alfred Hilton, Christian Fleetwood, and Charles Veale
I included these three men together because their actions occurred concurrently. Hinton carried the American flag for his regiment. When the soldier carrying the regimental colors was injured he took the flag from him and carried both. When he himself was injured he passed the two flags to Fleetwood and Veale before they could touch the ground. Hilton died weeks later from his wounds.
7. Edward Ratcliff, William Barned, and James Harris
Again, I group these men together because their actions occurred concurrently. These three men led a renewed push on Confederate lines. They were the first three to breach confederate defenses and engaged Confederates in hand-to-hand combat until union reinforcements arrived to help secure victory.
8. Andrew Jackson Smith
Like others on this list, Smith saved the flag after the color bearer was killed and helped inspire Union forces to press on.
9. Marquis de Lafayette
While French, Lafayette defined his king to come to America and help fight for our independence. He rose to become a Major General in the Continental Army and was indispensable in our fight for independence. From 1822 until 1897 there was a Fort Lafayette near New York City. I think it’s time we bring it back.