Two of AmerenUE top officers – Richard Mark and Mark Birk -- joined Lauren C. Schnaidt, Major General U.S. Air Force Retired, and well-known Buffalo Soldier Historian Dr. Edwin Bailey in celebrating Flag Day today at the Jefferson Barracks Historic District in South St. Louis County.
The 10:00 a.m. event was complete with small flags for the public, a flag-raising ceremony with an all-female Military Honors Detail of American Legion Post 404 and a bugler. It also included the celebration of an Ameren Corporation gift of $25,000 toward the creation of the National Patriotic Memorial Complex at Jefferson Barracks. The Flag Day ceremony included a tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers--a group of 19th century African American Soldiers, whose first military home was Jefferson Barracks. The company’s contribution goes to Jefferson Barracks Heritage Foundation, Inc., which plans to create the National Patriotic Memorial Complex on the grounds of the Jefferson Barracks Historic District, at 96 Worth Avenue, in South St. Louis County.
Birk, vice president, AmerenUE Power Generation and a foundation board member, introduced dignitaries, fellow board members and other officials from AmerenUE and described the need for the planned complex as a place that will celebrate the American citizen, soldier, volunteer and veteran. Mark, senior vice president, AmerenUE Energy Delivery, presented the Ameren check supporting the planned facility and later presented the American flag to Major Vicky Limbaugh, United States Army Retired, officer in charge of American Legion Post 404 Military Honors Detail. Dr.Edwin Bailey raised the flag. The pledge of allegiance followed. Then, Foundation Executive Director William F. Florich closed the ceremony with thanks to all.
Keynote speaker at the Jefferson Barracks event was Dr. Bailey, retired dean of the St. Louis Community College System’s Meramec College. Dressed in the uniform of a 19th century Buffalo Soldier, Dr. Bailey told the crowd about the importance of this group of African-American soldiers who played a critical role in the U.S. Army in the summer of 1866, a year after the Civil War ended and more than six months after the 13th Amendment finally abolished slavery throughout the country. The Army Reorganization Act of 1866 provided for 30 new regiments, including two cavalry and four infantry regiments of African-Americans.
Within days of the passage of the law, orders went out to Major Generals William T. Sherman and Philip H. Sheridan to raise four of these regiments. In Sherman’s military division in Missouri, the 38th Infantry was organized at Jefferson Barracks—one of the birthplaces of the Buffalo Soldiers.
AmerenUE serves 1.2 million electric customers and 127,000 natural gas customers in a 24,000-square-mile area of north, central and eastern Missouri. It is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation.
Jefferson Barracks, established in 1826 as the country’s “Infantry School of Practice,” served as a major military installation until 1946. Named in honor of former President Thomas Jefferson, the post played an important role in westward expansion. The historic area includes the St. Louis County Veterans Memorial Amphitheater, Jefferson Barracks Veterans Administration Hospital, the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, the Missouri National Guard Base and a park.
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CONTACT: Susan Gallagher, 314.554.2175, Lori Light, 314.554.2681, both of AmerenUE