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article imageOp-Ed: Soldier of Patton's army in unmarked grave in Illinois

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By Karl Gotthardt     Feb 17, 2013 in Politics
Chicago - This story is an account of a black soldier that was part of Patton's Army. Theodore Lovejoy passed away in 1993, having suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Alzheimer's Disease. His daughter Joan Flowers was promised an Arlington Cemetery burial.
John Flowers has been pursuing a burial for her father, Theodore Lovejoy, since 1993, without any results. Despite being given assurances by President Bill Clinton's administration that her father would get an exceptional burial at Arlington. She told her story during an interview on The American Hour, featuring Commander Tom Garcia. The interview starts at 16 minutes into the hour.
The author was first contacted by John Flowers, who live in Chicago, after he posted some stories on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the plight of soldiers serving in Afghanistan. Ms. Flowers is a black woman who became President Clinton's first human rights case. After contact with Ms. Flowers on twitter, she contacted him by e-mail and gave the following account(it is in capitals because Ms. Flowers is also vision impaired):
I DID NOT KNOW UNTIL DEC 11, 2011 WHEN I OPENED UP DAD'S VETERAN AFFAIRS HOSPITAL PAPERS THAT "HE TRIED TO KILL HIMSELF" IN 1950!!! 5 YEARS AFTER WAR!!!! LIKE MY UNCLE "WHO DID" INFO BELOW!!!! NO ONE KNEW THESE SOLDIERS HAD 'PTSD" THE DOCTORS ASKED MY DAD TO "PROMISE" HE WOULD NOT TRY TO "KILL HIMSELF AGAIN" HE "PROMISED" & NEVER TRIED AGAIN!!!!! HE HAD "MALARIA" EACH YEAR FROM WAR WITH "FEVER,CHILLS & SWEATS FROM WAR & "MEGA MIGRAINE HEADACHES AS "AMMUNITION HANDLER"& "WARRANT OFFICER" TOPS IN HIS DAY AS A BLACK "WW ll" SOLDIER HE DIED OF "ALZHEIMERS" JUNE 30, 1993 & WAS OFFERED"ARLINGTON WHITE HOUSE EXCEPTION BURIAL" BY "LIAISON DEPT""SUSAN" WHO SAID: "JOAN THIS IS THE LEAST WE CAN DO FOR A YOUR SOLDIER DAD & A SOLDIER OF "GENERAL GEORGE S PATTON" & HISTORY THAT WAS "LESS THAN KIND TO A SOLDIER WHO FOUGHT FOR HIS COUNTRY" MY DAD LIES IN "UNMARKED GRAVE TODAY PEOPLEWALK ON!! ASKING PRESIDENT CLINTON ON TWITTER @ CLINTON TWEETS & CLINTON GLOBAL TO "STEP IN" & GO TO PRESIDENT OBAMA & ASK HIM TO"CARRY OUT" "PREVIOUS EXECUTIVE OFFER" CLINTON'S ADMIN OFFERED A SOLDIER THAT "COULD NOT BUY A HOME" "OR "VOTE" IN 1945 BUT FOUGHT FOR THE WORLD!! PLEADED WITH SENATOR DICK DURBIN TO ASK PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR DAD'BURIAL & HE HAS NOT GONE AS REQUESTED BY DAUGHTER OF W"FRANK BUCKLES" Read more Here
Needless to say Joan Flowers has made a passionate plea to get her father a proper funeral. The author wrote an original story and Joan and others started an extensive twitter and internet campaign, including tweets to senators, congressmen, the White House, Bill and HIllary Clinton, Colin Powell and the president and the first lady. For years this woman almost begged anyone that she perceived could help her in her quest to help her.
She finally received a letter from the Executive Director of Arlington Cemeteries, Kathryn A. Condon, apparently on behalf of President Obama, denying her request. The letter merely said that her father's military service is extremely admirable and greatly appreciated; however, on January 24,2013 the Secretary of the Army declined to approve your request.
LETTER FROM DEPT OF THE ARMY:
FEB 4, 2012 RECEIVED BY ME FEB 15,2013
Dear Ms Flowers
I have been asked to provide a response on behalf of President Barack Obama to your recent inquiry by Mr Jay Sekulow,Chief Counsel,American Center for Law & Justice, concerning the request for an exception to the policy for in-ground burial at Arlington National Cemetery of your father, Mr Theodore Lovejoy. We appreciate your patience in waiting this response.
Your father's case was reviewed by senior leaders of the Army staff pursuant to the standard protocols for processing these types of requests. Your father's military service is extremely admirable and greatly appreciated; however, on January 24,2013 the Secretary of the Army declined to approve your request.
Thank you for your inquiry and interest in Arlington National Cemetery
Honor- Remember-Explore
Sincerely,
Kathryn A Condon
Executive Director
Arlington Cemeteries
Should this be the end of it? We don't think so. In view of the history and treatment of black soldiers, especially during and after the second world war, this is a cause worth pursuing and Joan Flowers should see her father get the funeral that she desires for him.
A brief history of black soldiers.
Black soldiers played a big part in the liberation of Europe. Much of their history has gone unnoticed. France, which had many colonies in Africa had lost 17,000 black soldiers when Paris fell to Adolf Hitler in 1940.
During the invasion of Normandy many of the black soldiers were left behind in Britain by both American and British Forces, but they joined the fight later, sweeping across Europe with General Patton's Army.
"Paris was freed from Nazi rule on August 25th 1944 by the 2nd Armoured Division of the Free French army, a few months after D-Day. The strange thing is that all the soldiers seemed to be white – even though the French army at the time was two-thirds black. As it turns out the British and Americans who ran D-Day would only let an all-white division across the Channel. Even the black American soldiers were left behind in Britain and joined the fighting only later. France in those days ruled much of Africa and had black soldiers in its army. In 1940 when Paris fell to Hitler 17,000 black soldiers had lost their lives defending France. In spite of that no black soldiers were allowed to take part in the liberation of Paris four years later. And to this day there is no monument in Paris to honour them.
Today Theodore Lovejoy rests at Mount Glenwood Cemetery in an unmarked grave. Joan has made pleas to Senator Durbin and Colin Powell to ask President Obama to make the burial happen at Arlington. Her story, which follows below, shows an injustice that needs to be corrected. In 2012 this should no longer be a question that requires much of a decision. According to Joan, her father never even knew that he had received medals for the campaign, which weren't issued to black soldiers until 1947.
Three males, including her uncle and father suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a disease never recognized. The family dealt with those mental scars the best they could. Her account of her uncle's death when she was just a child is chilling and demonstrates how devastating PTSD can be. Many of our warriors from the Vietnam and Afghan/Iraq error silently suffer, albeit the situation on treatment has somewhat improved.
What happened to Theodore Lovejoy and the request, followed by a promise, for his Arlington funeral is an injustice that must be rectified.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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