During assembly on Friday, November 11, Simone Hoagland ’21 spoke about her neighbor, Roz Schulte ’02, an officer in the Air Force who was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in May 2009, and called for a moment of silence to remember Roz and to honor all veterans. Simone's complete remarks follow.
Good morning students, faculty, and Mr. Abbott.
It was May 20, 2009. Location: near Kabul in Afghanistan. Roslyn Schulte was travelling by car and was hit by a roadside bomb. She was in the car with others, but was the only one killed. She was the first female U.S. Air Force Academy graduate to be killed in action. Meanwhile, in St. Louis, Missouri, seven-year-old Simone got home from Roz’s former school, Conway Elementary, to find her family didn’t have its usual exciting buzz. Instead, everyone was sad, and didn’t say a word.
Finally, my dad spoke, “Do you know the neighbors next door, the Schultes?” I nodded. He continued, “Today, their daughter Roz was killed by a roadside bomb.”
That weekend, cars were piled up and down my street, people were walking in and out of the Schultes’ house, giving flowers and food. Even though it was a beautiful sunny day, everyone was sad. On the other hand, everyone had united in a way I had never seen before. Everyone was chipping in to make the horrible time better, and honorable. My brother marched outside with his trumpet and played “Taps.” Later, a metal rod was put up in the vegetative circle inside the loop of the street. In the rod an American Flag was set up. Behind the flag in the circle, flowers were planted. Colorful, gorgeous flowers. Purple, yellow, red, pink, and white. In the middle of the flowerbed, a rock was placed. On it were two words that are some of the most memorable words of my life. Roz’s Garden. A garden honoring Roz, calling to the world what she had done. Now, every year after winter, the neighborhood surrounds the rock with flowers on memorial day. Every summer, the circle shines with color, and with passing it brings memory.
Roz was born on March 18, 1984, and was named after her grandmother, Roslyn. She attended Conway Elementary School in the Ladue school district. After that she attended John Burroughs, where she graduated in 2002. At Burroughs, Roz was the captain of the lacrosse team, and quite a driving force. “Roz was integral, along with her father, to the fledgling lacrosse team at Burroughs,” said Margaret Clark. “She was always a leader and the backbone of our team; she got us going. She didn’t just play, she helped teach and coach.” Coach Clark also mentioned how Roz was recognized nationally, and how the girls of the team always had fun being coached by a dance teacher, which Roz’s dad often teased Coach about. Roz also played field hockey and swam. When she was a senior, Mr. Abbott wasn’t head of school; rather, he was her class principal. “We have a philosophy of kids being in involved in academics, athletics, arts and activities, and she was involved in all of these,” he said,. “She was an outstanding student, one of the most outstanding athletes in her class and deeply involved in activities. I think she will be remembered most here for her very genuine kindness and affection for others and for life. She was bursting with enthusiasm.” He then added, “She was very passionate that she wanted to go to the Air Force and be an officer.”
Also speaking on behalf of Roz was her very best friend from Burroughs, Janie Mackey. Janie and Roz used to play sports together, spend time outside and adored creating mischief. Once, they snuck up on Roz’s neighbor, Tommy, and pushed him into a pool with all his clothes on. They then had to hide in the pool house for hours until Tommy finally gave up and had to change. Janie also mentioned that she and Roz would watch the movie Top Gun over and over, and Roz loved taking photos at the airport. Many of these passions were what lead Roz to the Air Force.
Once she joined, Roz worked incredibly hard. After working 14 hours a day, she would put in another three hours organizing charities for Afghan refugees. The air force members recognized her amazing work and greatly respected her for it. Majors, colonels and generals wrote about how inspiring she was and how tragic her loss was. The leaders of the force weren’t alone. Back at Burroughs on the day she died, her former lacrosse team won its first major title, the Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Championship, beating Nerinx Hall 6-4. Later, the plaque was presented to the school, and Burroughs took a moment of silence to remember her. After her death, the Schultes prepared a memorial service and a burial at New Mount Sinai Cemetery.
Today, the rest of the Schultes live on — Roz’s father, Robert Schulte, her mother Susie Littmann Schulte, and her brother, Todd Schulte. Although they lost a member of the family, a new one has arrived. Earlier this year, Todd and his wife had a little girl, and the Schulte parents have the honor of being grandparents. I still see the Schultes every year, and they are incredibly caring, nice and absolutely fantastic.
I would now like to ask everyone to please take a moment to remember Roz and everything she did; give your best wishes to her family; and thank every veteran who has granted us this beautiful gift of freedom. Give your honor, respect and thanks to every past, present and future soldier, who will forever fight for our country.