History shows the moral bankruptcy of leftist demands for reparations
My great-great-grandfather, Fred Voelker, fought in the Civil War in the Second Battle of Springfield, Missouri, on January 8, 1863. It was a grisly little battle that featured hand-to-hand combat The bayonets were set. On February 8, 1863, he died
due to battle wounds from an unknown disease, as so many of the troops did. He was twenty-three years old. It took him a month to die. He is buried in the National Cemetery in Springfield, Missouri. A small, white tombstone marks his sacrifice.
Great-great grandfather was christened Ferdinand Wilhelm Friedrich “Fred” Voelker. We believe he was born in southern Germany in 1839. (The family name has since been changed to Foelker.)
Fred’s only child, Henry Edward Voelker, turned three years old a week after his father died fighting for a country that was not his own.
Fred’s wife, Johanna Wilhelmina Ernestine “Minnie” Ziemann Voelker Schroeder, (my great-great-grandmother) remarried less than a year after she became a war widow. We presume she remarried so soon for support. Her family immigrated to the United States around 1850 from Bohemia. They had been Eastern European serfs. Remember, at that time if you were a poor immigrant there were no food stamps, AFDC payments, rent assistance, medical assistance, etc.
Before 1863 was just a memory, Minnie married Adolf Teodor Robert “Robert” Schroeder. He was born in Germany in 1835. Robert and Minnie farmed in Wisconsin, near Waterloo.
My great-great-grandpa Fred fought. Fred was wounded. Fred suffered. Fred died. Yet today, Fred’s sacrifice is not appreciated by those who benefited most from it. The sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers is not appreciated.
The unfathomable price that White Americans paid for slavery was paid long ago, paid in full. The horrific price was paid by dead soldiers, maimed soldiers, fatherless, impoverished children, and widows in the North -- and in the South. Parents throughout the land mourned dead sons. Lydia Bixby of Massachusetts lost at least three sons. She received a letter from President Lincoln in November of 1864, in which he attempted to console her.
The politicians did not stop slavery. The abolitionists did not stop slavery. Lincoln himself did not stop slavery.
Slavery was stopped by soldiers, great armies of men, hundreds of thousands of men, wielding deadly force with strategy and bullets – killing each other. The carnage was unsurpassed in terms of American wars. Historians argue over the number of soldiers who died due to the Civil War with some estimates as high as 750,000. The grand total war dead could be around one million. Many families suffered when their fathers, brothers, and sons did not come home. They starved and fell ill to any number of diseases that ravaged the land.
Throughout our unhappy, chaos-filled nation we hear demands for reparations to be paid to descendants of American slaves. They want to be financially compensated for the sufferings of their ancestors.
Well, so do I!
Where should I begin? Can I demand the Hapsburg descendants compensate me because ancestors on both sides of my family had been Eastern European serfs? Mind you, European serfs (and Russian serfs alike) were whipped, and their families were, at times, separated. They suffered under a system of forced labor on land they did not own.
Do not the descendants of those legions of dead Union soldiers who sacrificed their lives to end slavery deserve reparations? Where does the hard Left reparations game end? Does it end?
IMAGE: Battle of Springfield, Missouri. Public domain.
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