Chattanoogans packed the historic First Presbyterian Church on Friday to honor Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Charles H. Coolidge. Mr. Coolidge died last week at the age of 99.
He had received the Medal of Honor for battlefield action during World War II. He was assigned to the 141st infantry regiment, 36th infantry division in the U.S.
Christine Hassevoort sang three of Mr. Coolidge’s favorite hymns including “Love Divine, all love Excelling”, “Abide with Me” and “For All the Saints.”
Lt. Gen. Charles Coolidge Jr. (Ret Army) gave a powerful eulogy about his dad. Mr. Coolidge said his father did not seek any attention but led by example. He said his dad lived a life of honor before and after the Medal of Honor. Mr. Coolidge said his dad was his best friend who "told us often he loved us."
The speaker said dad was a humble man and always tried to divert attention away from himself and to other veterans. Mr. Coolidge said his dad was very proud of the Medal of Honor Museum and what it will mean for future generations. Mr. Coolidge and his wife Frances were volunteers at the Medal of Honor museum when it was located at 4th and Georgia Avenue. Mr. Coolidge closed his remarks by saying, “He was the best father a son could have and he made the world a better place.”
Mr. Coolidge was a member of First Presbyterian Church for most of his life serving as a Sunday School teacher and deacon. He worked in his family business up until a few years ago.
One of First Presbyterian Church's pastors, Chris Ehlers, spoke of Mr. Coolidge’s faith using verses from Romans chapter 8. He said Mr. Coolidge lived a great life of honor and his real hero was the Lord Jesus Christ with whom he had a personal relationship. Rev. Ehlers said Charles Coolidge knew he had been redeemed by the perfect atonement of Jesus Christ. He said long before Mr. Coolidge was a hero in the European theater he was a man of faith who knew where he was going for eternity. He could not predict what would happen in the battles where many men around him were killed, but Mr. Coolidge knew whose he was in life and in death and that one day he would be with his Savior, the minister said.
In closing, at Mr. Coolidge’s request, Pastor Ehlers led the congregation with the Lord's Prayer.
Hundreds lined McCallie and Holtzclaw Avenues on the route to the National Cemetery where a private ceremony took place with family and friends.
Click here to watch the service.