Former UN Ambassador Andrew Young on Wednesday paid tribute to African-Americans whose service to their country goes back to the American Revolution.
Young was the keynote speaker at the dedication at Fort Hill School in Dalton, Ga., of a sign honoring the service of the 44th U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War.
I'm indebted to Charlie Crawford, head of the Georgia Battlefields Association, for this account and photos. The GBA helped fund the sign and assisted in its writing.
A clear autumn morning in North Georgia's rolling hills saw at least 200 in attendance. A children's chorus sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
According to Crawford, "Young spoke without notes and with great feeling. He went back to Crispus Attucks and black troops in the Revolutionary War, then spent some time on Andrew Jackson assembling an army in New Orleans and granting black volunteers land in western Louisiana as a reward.
"Young, who is from New Orleans, said this made quite an impression on his family and explains why he is named Andrew Jackson Young, a name that has recurred in his family over the generations. He spoke of how soldiers pay the price for diplomats' failures and how Americans' willingness to fight for the nation is stronger than any ethnic, cultural, or racial differences."
• Related Picket article on the 44th