Special Cases: Reflecting on current events through letters and poems

Published 3:29 pm Thursday, October 26, 2017

Editor’s Note: Instead of the usual subject matter of his weekly column, Special Cases, Leonard Rizzo has submitted the following for our readers’ consideration.

Dear Readers:

While writing Special Cases I try always to make it about the animals although I wear my beliefs on my sleeve and never hide them.

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I’ve asked the Bulletin to give me this page for a few things I’ve written about in the past. “Over Too Soon” is a poem that shows the results when we politicize every part of our culture.

Recent events made me dig out “Going Home” (published July 4, 2013) and it will speak for itself. As an aside, Sergeant 1st Class Kimberly Walker is now retired and I’m still as proud of her as ever.

– Leonard Rizzo

Going home

Sergeant First Class Kimberly Walker has spent just as much time out of our country as she has at home. 

Her tours of duty include a humanitarian visit to Pakistan and twice to war zones in the Middle East. On her last tour in Afghanistan, Sergeant Walker was injured and two of her vertebrae had to be replaced. After a few months of medical leave and R&R, she recovered and was sent to her new duty in Colorado Springs. While on duty stateside, she received word that one of her boys, Specialist Robert Ellis, was struck by a mortar round and was killed. Sergeant Walker went to her commanding officer and asked and received permission to escort Specialist Ellis home. She was flown to Delaware as the NCOIC, non-commissioned officer in charge, where she received four flag draped caskets. After she presided over full honors for our fallen, a police and motorcycle escort accompanied them to the funeral home for forensics.

The following morning Specialist Ember Alt was escorted to South Carolina.

Sergeant William Moody (father of three) was escorted to Texas.

Sergeant Justin Johnson was escorted to Florida and Sergeant Walker boarded a plane to Kennewick, Wash. with her 20-year-old soldier, Spc. Ellis. She was alone with just the pilot and co-pilot as she made sure every detail of reverence was afforded her soldier.

In Washington, she presented to Jon and Joelle, Spc. Robert Ellis’ parents, and his younger brother Jimmy.

Sergeant Walker stayed for every funeral service straight through his burial with honors.

After the first Sergeant Walker called her parents and her father answered, “Dad,” she said weeping, “This was the most difficult duty I’ve ever pulled.” 

“Kim,” I answered, weeping along with her, “I have never been more proud of you than I am at this very moment.”

I will be writing a letter to the Ellis’ thanking them for their sacrifice. I will get as many VFW friends to sign it and I will try to get our newspaper to contact theirs to have it published.

In the meantime, enjoy our Independence Day and as you celebrate, never forget what Specialist Robert Ellis died for.

Leonard Rizzo,
Columbus, N.C.

Over Too Soon

Dress up dolls, door to door,

Neighbors meet the very first time,

Children crying, “more, mom, more”,

No place this night for wayward crime.

The air is filled with make believe,

Wondrous eyes all ablaze in awe,

Try desperately to conceive,

Who’s behind the fang and claw.

Witches, goblins, angels and elves,

Representing dreams by score,

Old hats down from forgotten shelves,

Camaraderie from shore to shore.

A night of wonder, a night of fun,

“Trick or treat” their eyes implore,

Then it’s over just as it begun,

And shutters bolt just as before.

Then through the year it starts again,

Children staying close to home,

Angry neighbors behind a pen,

Who scream at tots who’d want to roam.

A night of evil, or so they say,

When spirits lurk about to fright,

Yet each evening children pray,

For the hidden friends who appear this night.

So we must wait, no in between,

When black cats ride across the moon

Just once a year comes Halloween,

A shame it’s over all too soon.

Where are the children

Famine, strife, a shortened life, grown up before their time.

Parents deserting, pornographic flirting, you can have this pill for a dime.

Video games, dreams up in flames, no more castles of sand.

Born out of lust, not love but disgust, their future already planned.

Things are too easy, revered or sleazy, no middle of the road.

Sins of the fathers, or nobody bothers, no break from society’s code.

Wondering scholars, who teach but for dollars, the same old doldrums go on,

We’re all in a hurry, yet some of us worry, where have our children gone?