The fight for freedom
For Memorial Day, I feel the need to apologize to those who gave their lives and those families who lost loved ones in the fight for freedom. America is well on the way to squandering those freedoms. Where America is and where it is going is not what anyone sacrificed for.
America's greatness was paid for by sacrifice. Sacrifice is not selfish, whether on the battlefield or in life in general. Without sacrifice, future generations will not have it better. Today, I see few Americans willing to sacrifice for the betterment of all, even for the sake of their children and grandchildren.
The sacrifice of those who lost their lives fighting for America was not all in vain. They will be remembered as one of the most accomplished military forces in history, right alongside the Roman Legions and the Mongol army of Genghis Khan. There is something to be said about being part of greatness, no matter how fleeting. While I apologize for not sacrificing more to prevent the squandering of freedom and prosperity for future Americans, I also am grateful for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and their families who were forced to live without them. It was an honor and a privilege to serve in the American military.
I hope everyone will join me in asking themselves: What sacrifices can I make to further freedom and prosperity for future Americans? God bless those who gave their lives for America and freedom and their families.
WILLIAM J. BARGER
Fallen at Normandy
In memory of Eugene O. Meyer, killed in action at Normandy, France, November 1944. Buried in American Cemetery, Nancy, France.
War changed uncle
My uncle Harley served in Korea during the Korean "Conflict." I was born after he returned, but the effects of his time at war were evident in all the years after he came home to Missouri.
My father--once I was old enough to understand--explained to me that before Harley went to Korea he was a gregarious, fun-loving man. When he returned, he was very different. The only uncle I ever knew was the post-war Harley. He was a very loving and gentle uncle to my sister and brother and me, but I can seldom remember seeing him truly happy. I was just a kid; I was born in 1962. I didn't know what had made him the type of person that I knew.
But one thing that happened has never left my mind. We were at his house one week in the late 1970s and I wanted to watch "M*ASH." He came into the living room and saw it on the TV. He immediately turned it off. When I protested, he said, "We don't watch that show here. There's nothing funny about war." He gave me a lot to think about that day.
He lived a very successful and generous life after the war, until he passed away at the age of 81. He will always be remembered by me fondly.
His bravery and skill
Today, I write in honor of the late W.S. "Lefty" Miller Jr., Captain, United States Army.
In 1959 I married a pretty Dutch girl in Maastricht, in the Netherlands. Some years later, back in Little Rock, we needed some legal work. So up to see lawyer Miller we went. He asked where in Holland my wife had lived. "Maastricht," my wife replied. Lefty sat back, his head tilted a bit, as he told of leading his company of soldiers across the river Maas in pursuit of the German occupiers of Maastricht. Then, in the bitter cold of winter, the Germans launched an attack through Belgium, aiming for Antwerp. Lefty received orders to defend what was left of the line. So back over the bridge he led his company into Belgium.
Some weeks later, the last-gasp effort of the Germans to capture that deep-water port ended in defeat. That affair became forever known as The Battle of the Bulge.
Captain Miller was ordered then to again cross the Maas and push the Germans out of Holland. His bravery and skill as an infantry company commander routed the defenders of that bridge and city. Twice. Again. This time for good.
As an aside, his company 1st sergeant was a fellow named Malcolm Forbes.
Loss changed his life
Sometimes the people we remember are the ones we never met.
As a young boy, I would see the purple heart hanging in an enclosed globe and wonder its meaning and why Dad never talked about it. Later I learned it was my Uncle J.E.'s, who was shot down over the Aleutian Islands during World War II and lost at sea. It was his first mission.
I've often wondered the effect on Dad of losing his oldest brother, who was already his hero and father figure, as his own dad died when he was a baby. I still think about Uncle J.E., to have known him and how Dad's life and his family's changed, growing up without him.
Thanks for your sacrifice, Uncle J.E.; you made a difference even though we never met.
I want to thank Arkansas Representatives Steve Womack and French Hill, who insisted on holding the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrectionists accountable for us.
I believe that is the best and the only way to help our country heal from what could have been a complete and permanent disaster if they had succeeded in overturning the election, let alone capturing and killing our elected officials. The day with its violent images is seared into my memory forever as the day we almost lost our country.
We needed Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton to do the same. Doublespeak and denial are not going to work here. We must fully investigate and prosecute, beyond what the FBI can do with individual perpetrators who had boots on the ground. We need the 1/6/21 commission.