Remembering Jim and Vernon: great men, great friends

Published 12:09 pm Friday, March 22, 2013

He earned his Bronze Star and a Purple Heart on Iwo Jima. His arm was shattered, but his legs were OK, so after the medics did some quick first-aid, they told him to walk down to the beach where he could be taken to the hospital ship offshore. He said that a friend came along in a jeep and gave him a ride. Sometimes a bad day will also have some good points.

In our wide-ranging discussions around the oval table, Vernon listened intently, but never added much. When he did, it was in a pleasant, gentle voice and usually accompanied by a smile. Made it difficult for me to imagine this tall, gentle man with a rifle with fixed bayonet in his hands (you don’t get a Bronze Star for being a wimp)!

While we are thinking about veterans, I will mention that plans are being made for a parade in Columbus on Veterans Day this fall. Others in the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars have noticed that about the only people who honor our veterans are the veterans themselves and their families, if there are indeed any young people present at observances of Veterans Day and Memorial Day. So if you do value your freedoms and love America as we do, please consider taking some time out (many more people get a holiday than attend our observances!) to support our commitment to our country and its ideals.

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There is apparently a big disconnect today between our civilian and military populations. During WWII nearly everyone had family members serving, and everyone understood that we had to win that one. Today we probably don’t know personally anyone who is serving, and we also generally have no idea why we are putting people in harm’s way. But please remember that, then and now, people were and are risking their lives so that you may live yours any way you want.