13th SC(E) Soldiers Hoist Flags at Historic Ceremony

Story and photos by: Spc. Fabian Ortega
13th SC(E) Public Affairs Office

FORT HOOD, Texas — The city of Temple invited Soldiers from the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) to take part in a special ceremony Feb. 22.

Soldiers from the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th SC(E) were asked to hoist the Al Edwards Juneteenth USA flag, the Texas flag, and the American flag at a historic cemetery in Temple Feb. 22.

The addition of the three flags is another step in rededicating the Seven Star Cemetery, according to State Representative Al Edwards.

Edwards is responsible for writing the law and sponsoring the bill that made Juneteenth an official state holiday in Texas.

“This site was overgrown with grass, weeds and trees. [The Temple chapter of the Al Edwards national Juneteenth Association] cleaned it up, they got with the city and the county to volunteer to do all this,” said Edwards. “We dedicated the monument early on last year and now they are going to raise the flags.

The Temple chapter of the Al Edwards Juneteenth Association cleaned the cemetery that just a year ago was recognized with a historical marker. The cemetery was part of the Underground Railroad that led slaves to the North.

Edwards said the cemetery now serves as symbol for younger generations.

“I think it’s important to not let our children forget from where we have come,” Edwards said. “This cemetery is a historical part, especially in the lives of African Americans and the ceremony today is good for our history, whether you’re black, brown or white,” said Edwards.

The Seven Star Cemetery is home to several slaves, black Soldiers and railroad porters who carried baggage during the time of the Underground Railroad.

“This was part of the Underground Railroad and it was along the way, the slaves that didn’t make it to the north are very likely buried here,” said Bill Jones, mayor of Temple.

Edwards and Jones both agreed Fort Hood’s Soldiers added a special touch to the ceremony.

“To have the Fort Hood Soldiers here today means a whole lot, it makes this ceremony more official,” said Edwards.

Jones added, “It’s fitting and it’s right to have them be a part of a ceremony like this. This is the first time the flags have been hoisted over the cemetery and to have our Soldiers to be the ones to raise those flags makes the day even more special.

“The Soldiers mean everything to us, we can enjoy the freedoms we have today because of the Soldiers today and the Soldiers who came before them.

Staff Sgt. Ronald Compton, a mechanic with Alpha Company, Brigade Troops Battalion, 15th SB, 13th SC(E), said he was happy to take part in the ceremony which held a special meaning for him.

“Today I believe shows that everyone can grow together and work together. The community here in Temple reminds me what you can accomplish through dedication and hard work,” said Compton. “It was a great honor, anytime I’m dealing with the American flag, it’s an honor and anytime I can help out the community it’s an honor,” Compton said.

 

Soldiers raising the flags
Soldiers from Alpha Company, Brigade Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) raise the Al Edwards Juneteenth USA flag, the Texas flag, and the American flag at the Seven Star Cemetery in Temple Feb. 22.

Flags at Seven Star Cemetary
The Al Edwards Juneteenth USA flag, the Texas flag, and the American fly over the Seven Star Cemetery in Temple Feb. 22.