- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 28, 2005

FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (AP) — Maj. Robert Rogers, the frontiersman whose 18th century manual on guerrilla warfare became a blueprint for Army Ranger fighting tactics, is getting what some consider a long-overdue honor: a statue in his memory.

But some veterans believe unveiling the monument on Memorial Day is insensitive because Rogers was loyal to Britain during the Revolutionary War.

“I think it’s a travesty that we would think about honoring a person, especially someone who fought against us, on that day,” said Bob Bearor, who served in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division in the 1960s. “It’s a sacred day. … Let’s honor our dead who died for our country.”

The life-size bronze statue is scheduled to be unveiled during a ceremony on Rogers Island in the Hudson River, 40 miles north of Albany. The island served as the base camp for Rogers’ Rangers during the late 1750s, when the British and French fought for control of North America.

The statue will stand near the site where Rogers penned “Rules of Discipline,” a common sense guideline for battling the French and their Indian allies in the North American wilderness in 1757. Also known as Rogers’ “Standing Orders,” the rules have been boiled down over the years from 28 to 19 and are still used to train soldiers at the Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga.

Rule No. 1 of Rogers’ manual, popularized and paraphrased in the novel, “The Northwest Passage,” is, “Don’t forget nothing.” Another rule, No. 15, is “Don’t sleep beyond dawn. Dawn’s when the French and Indians attack.”

Although some veterans say they have no qualms with the Rogers statue, Mr. Bearor and others said they are upset over a local developer’s plans to unveil the statue tomorrow, when the nation honors its war dead.

Mr. Bearor said Rogers, a New Hampshire-born frontiersman who led his Rogers’ Rangers on guerrilla raids for the British during the French and Indian War, turned against his fellow Americans in the Revolutionary War.

But organizers of the May 30 event defend the timing, saying that holding it on the holiday allows the greatest number of local dignitaries and the public to attend.

Richard Fuller is caretaker of the private portion of Rogers Island where the statue will stand. The property is owned by retired construction executive Frank Nastasi of Syosset. Both men are veterans and neither believes that holding the event on Memorial Day shows disrespect for America’s war dead, Mr. Fuller said.

Although he doesn’t deny Rogers’ military legacy, Mr. Bearor, a French and Indian War re-enactor and author of several books on the conflict, questions holding a Memorial Day tribute to a man who George Washington didn’t trust.

Fearing Rogers was a British spy, Washington turned down his request to join the Continental Army at the outset of the American Revolution. Rogers went on to raise a company of loyalist rangers, but failed to have the impact he had in the previous war. A heavy drinker, he died a pauper in England in 1795 and lies buried somewhere beneath the streets of London.

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