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We the undersigned request the promotion of a forgotten Veteran.
Dear President Obama,
An Arlington National Cemetery's website states the story of Colonel Charles Denton Young deserves the widest possible telling, yet few Americans have ever heard of this remarkable Veteran of Foreign Wars who spoke 6 languages, was the 3rd Black graduate of West Point, taught Military Science at Wilberforce University, was the 1st Black Military Attache, 1st Black Superintendent of a National Park, Commander of the 1st Black Military Unit requested to be a Presidential Honor Guard, the Highest Ranking Black Officer from 1894-1922 and the son of former slaves.
His strength of character and personality caused him to be held in high regard by both blacks and whites. He overcame prejudice, as evidenced by white Southern officers who ranked beneath him, yet held their (then) Captain in the highest esteem and spoke loudly in his praise. Much controversy surrounded the medical retirement of Colonel Young; many people felt he was retired to prevent his eventual promotion to General during wartime expansion. Colonel Young was not reinstated until a few days before the war ended. He died in 1922 while serving as military attache in Liberia. His memorial service was conducted in the Memorial Amphitheater with more than 5,000 people present. Colonel Young's memorial service is only 1 of 10 that have ever taken place in the marble Amphitheater.
The Los Banos Buffalo Soldiers 9th & 10th Cavalry Association, working with a National Task Force, the Los Banos Chamber of Commerce, and the American public are trying to change this omission in American History as we tell the story of this efficient, capable and popular leader... from sea to shining sea.
With all due respect Sir, we beseech you, our Commander in Chief to promote this duly deserving American to the rank of Brigadier General on June 1st, 2010 at Arlington National Cemetary.
Colonel Young is not as well known as other pioneering black military figures, including Henry O. Flipper, the first black to graduate from West Point, who was drummed out of the service in 1882 on questionable charges that President Bill Clinton pardoned in 1999, and Benjamin O. Davis, America's first Black General. Yet it was Young who spanned the era between these two men, who had the lifelong military career that Flipper was denied and who kept the possibilities alive for all who followed, including Davis, one of many black soldiers he mentored.
On May 20th 1903, the 9th Cavalry led by then Captain Charles Young departed the Presidio of San Francisco for Sequioa National Park. On May 20th 2010 Our Association with many other organizations and individuals will be escorting the Buffalo Soldier Mobile Museum, on a commemorative ride following the route the 9th Cavalry took from the Presidio of San Francisco to Sequoia National Park. We are hoping that this will help bring attention to who Charles Young was and help promote action from the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study to research, commemorate and interpret the role of the Buffalo Soldiers in the early years of the National Parks and, Ratify the Trail used by the 9th Cavalry from the San Francisco Presidio to Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks as a California Historical Trail.
We are asking every American, including you Sir, to help fund this project by donating $13, the monthly wage of a Buffalo Soldier in 1903.
We're asking America to Stand and Salute this remarkable man, and we ask you, our Nation's Leader, to lead us by example. President Roosevelt requested Colonel Young and his Buffalo Soldiers be his Honor Guard in 1903; we ask you honor Colonel Young in like fashion, and Sir, we thank you, from the depths of our American souls. Please, and thanks, honor this deserving, yet forgotten, American Veteran. It's time.
With heartfelt appreciation and trust,
David Kegae Lhakh Ofwono, President Los Banos Buffalo Soldiers 9TH & 10TH Cavalry Association
Geneva Marie Brett, President Los Banos Chamber of Commerce