Heroism On Display: Greenlawn Cemetery’s Medal of Honor Recipient

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Of the almost 150,000 graves in Columbus’s Greenlawn Cemetery, only five are marked with small blue flags. These flags denote the graves of Congressional Medal of Honor recipients – the highest honor bestowed on members of the U.S. military.

Eddie Rickenbacker is probably the best known recipient who’s laid to rest in Greenlawn. But there’s another soldier who fought in the Indian Wars and who was present at the Battle of Little Bighorn in Montana. He’s buried at Greenlawn, too.

Among the handful of Greenlawn’s Medal of Honor recipients, two of them are honored for their service in the Indian Wars of the 19th Century. Stanislas Roy is one of them. He was cited for carrying water to wounded cavalry soldiers at the Battle of little Bighorn under the command of Ohio native Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer. The citation for Roy says, “He performed under the most galling fire of the enemy.” Sandi Latimer is a Greenlawn historian.

“Everybody thinks that Custer’s unit was wiped out. Well there were three units. It was divided in three and the one Custer was in was wiped out, annihilated, whatever you want to say, but the other two, Stanislas Roy was in one,” Latimer said.

Little Bighorn became one of the iconic battles in American military history. It’s where the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry engaged the Sioux and Cheyenne on June 25 and 26, 1876. Two hundred and sixty three soldiers, and other personnel, including Lt. Col. George Custer died fighting several thousand Lakota and Cheyenne warriors.

“It was very hot; over 100 degrees. And the battle went on for over 24 hours. And Stanislas Roy and a couple of other officers slid down the hill, filled their canteens with water from the river, climbed back up and took the water to the wounded soldiers. For that he got his Medal of Honor,” Latimer said.

You can find Stanislas Roy’s grave in section 51 at Greenlawn. It’s an unassuming marker that, except for the blue Medal of Honor flag, looks like the others surrounding it. Latimer said she does not know what brought Roy to Columbus nor does she know the circumstances of his death. What little else is known is written on Roy’s tombstone

“His marker is: Stanislas Roy. Medal of Honor. He was a sergeant in the U.S. Army. He fought in the Indian Wars and died February 10th 1913. He has the American flag and the Medal of Honor flag,” says Latimer.

That’s Sandi Latimer, a Greenlawn Cemetery Historian. On Saturday morning, May 28, the Sons of Union Veterans while hold ceremonies at the cemetery’s Circle M. Then on Monday the 30th – Memorial Day – all veterans will be honored in Greenlawn’s section 104.