Fought in trenches
As Veterans Day approaches, I honor all veterans including my father, Cpl. Marion Murphy, who fought in the trenches in World War I.
I will never forget one of his few stories about him and his grungy buddies being pinned down by enemy fire without water after their "water wagon" had been shot up. In utter desperation he left the trenches, walked through a battlefield of decaying bodies, searching for a behind-the-lines water source. A short time later Armistice was declared--he obviously survived--and I became No. 4 of his 10 children.
About war and peace
War has always been part of my life, or has seemed so.
I was born just before World War II and have read about or experienced every war since. I recall the paper drives in elementary school during WWII. I had two uncles in this war. Both came home, but I felt the angst in the family as they served. Then I experienced the shadowy presence of the Korean War. This was not really a war, we were told, but it seemed in my pre-teen years that it was exactly that. Then there were the two wars to come which involved my family more directly.
I went into the U.S. Air Force in the early 1960s, my older brother having preceded me in the late 1950s. On one sunny day at the airbase, I sat watching all the B-52s and many of our KC-135 tankers take off. The base was on lockdown and we found out that the Cuban missile crisis had come to a head. Fortunately, the Russians blinked and all was well.
As our sons grew up, my wife and I worried about future conflicts. One son went into the U.S. Navy and found himself floating offshore from Iraq just before that conflict began. We worried about his safety, but knew that other young men and women were in greater danger onshore. The U.S. came through well, but war, in whatever form, remains with many of our families and their daughters and sons.
I retired one week before Sept. 11, 2001, and I vividly remember how conflict came to the United States on that day. From that point on, the thought of what was in the future sent chills down my spine.
Today, we seem to flirt with the prospect of war. We still have conflicts going on in the Middle East and are in peril in parts of Asia and Europe, not to mention South America. Our young people are engaged wherever they are told to go, and my pride in them is only exceeded by the pride of their families. I pray for them and our country that we may stay out of conflict and enjoy peace. God bless the United States of America.
Speak for community
I read the letters to the editor almost every day. I've noticed that most letters that come from people living in Hot Springs Village and Bella Vista are written with a liberal slant. Many bash President Trump and call him various names. Most support gun control and other left-wing causes. I suspect this is due to a large percentage of northern liberals moving south, fleeing high taxes and ruined cities created by liberal policies. Regrettably, these people are bringing with them the same failed ideas that they fled.
Are there not any conservatives living in these communities? If so, I'm challenging them to express themselves and not let liberal viewpoints speak for your community.
Gouging old people
Yes, gasoline taxes pay for Arkansas roads. But what about us senior citizens who drive maybe 50 miles a week tops in our Prius, paying the $100 tax per year? This is surely a lot of "gas tax monies" for so little road usage. A truly unfair gouging of old people.
Who do I think of on Veterans Day? Me, of course. Just kidding.
However, as an African American I would be remiss if I did not first think of Brig. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Sr. What a stellar career he had, the first African American to earn the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army in 1940. After having fought in four wars, he retired in 1948 after 50 years of service.
But how could I not think of his son, Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr. the first African American to earn the rank of general in the U.S. Air Force? He was commander of the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. He was awarded a fourth star in 1998 by President Bill Clinton.
However, how can I not be impressed by the distinguished service and career of U.S. Air Force Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James, the first African American in the military to earn the fourth star in 1975. James was a fighter pilot and flew the Phantom F-4C out of RAF Bentwaters in the U.K. where I was stationed.
And then there is the granddaddy of them all, five-star Gen. Douglas MacArthur, a field marshal in the Philippine army and chief of staff of the U.S. Army. He and his dad were the first father and son to both earn the Medal of Honor, and he was from Little Rock.
Now any one of these could be and should be thought of on Veterans Day, and I do, but the veterans I think of the most are those I served with, the men of the 81st Combat Support Group stationed in Suffolk, England. These were the very best GIs America had to offer. I cannot say more about these guys because they were not superheroes; we had guys that couldn't wait to get out and we had lifers, we guarded and fixed planes, our pilots flew training missions, we cooked and we did whatever it took to support our mission. These are the vets I think of on Veterans Day.
Editorial on 11/09/2019
Print Headline: Letters