Tonight I'll sing my songs again,
I'll play the game and pretend.
But all my words come back to me
in shades of mediocrity
Like emptiness in harmony I need
someone to comfort me.
I wish I was,
Home, where my thought's escaping,
Home, where my music's playing,
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.
They called it, and themselves, the Frozen Chosin. The allies found themselves retreating--that is, advancing in a different direction--from the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea as the enemy poured artillery, and themselves, into the counter-attack.
Those who were there called it hell on Earth. And many of them were WWII vets, who'd thought they'd seen it all before.
In a war that featured the likes of Heartbreak Ridge and Pork Chop Hill and Bloody Ridge, the battle at the Chosin Reservoir was particularly brutal. The soldiers and Marines didn't just have to fight off gunfire and bombs blasting in air, but brutal cold, too. The temps dropped to near minus-40 at times. Jeep batteries froze and died. Gun oil gelled. Medics had to put morphine shots in their mouths to thaw them out before they could inject the medicine into the wounded.
That's where Jerry M. Garrison died. Among many others.
Cpl. Garrison was 21 when he was reported missing on Dec. 2, 1950, after the enemy overran HQ Co., 1st Battalion, 32 Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division.
Now Jerry Garrison, of the Lamar, Ark., Garrisons, will finally come home. And will be buried in sunny Arkansas. A place he should have come back to long ago. To full military honors.
His country, his state, owes him so much. The least we can do is give him a decent burial. For that, we can thank the United States military and even President Trump. In July of last year, the North Koreans turned over 55 boxes containing the remains of what were (supposedly) Americans killed during that war--a war that technically goes on today.
The Korean War has never been officially put to an end. mind you. Both sides still stare at each other across a no-man's land, keeping the peninsula in a death grip. But President Trump and Kim Jong Un held a summit together in 2018, and part of the reward for such a meeting came in the form of those remains. They were sent to an Air Force base in Delaware for identification. And some have been given names, and rest, at last.
For Jerry Garrison, the war was over nearly 70 years ago. His journey, however, will be over later this month at Lamar.
Yes, he's homeward bound. But the song that comes to mind right now isn't a pop tune. It's a hymn, also called "Homeward Bound," best sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The piece is easily found these computerized days. It's more haunting than anything even Paul Simon could come up with. Yes, such a thing is possible.
We wonder if the young Cpl. Garrison ever heard the tune. We can only offer it to him, and any loved ones he may still have on this side, in appreciation for a duty well done. With our gratitude and sincere apologies that the nation could not have recovered him in better time. At ease, soldier . . . .
When the summer's ceased
When the corn is past its prime,
When adventure's lost its meaning,
I'll be homeward bound in time.
Bind me not to the pasture,
Chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling,
And I'll return to you somehow.
Editorial on 10/04/2019
Print Headline: Homeward bound