Remember When: Remembering Bill and Paul

Published 3:03 pm Thursday, November 2, 2017

Bill Lippincott invited me to speak to the local chapter of the AARP shortly after I started writing these columns in the ‘90s. Bill was its president then; I don’t think such a chapter exists any more. At any rate, I dutifully attended and read a few stories I had written for the Bulletin, as requested. I was much encouraged by their appreciation of my efforts.

Every time I saw Bill, or his late wife Marty, there were happy circumstances. They were both the kind of folks we like to know as friends. They seemed always to be helping in one way or another. The last time I saw Bill was at White Oak. He appeared in their dining room as I was finishing up tuning a piano there, greeted me warmly as always, and proceeded to liven up the table where he joined other friends.

I first met Paul Sutherland at the new House of Flags museum where he was an active leader. He did not introduce himself as Admiral Sutherland; others filled me in on that. He was the friendly docent who welcomed us all and shared in the riches of the museum as a fellow patriot. Same warm greeting when he came to Dr. Rosenberg’s office building to attend a hospital foundation board meeting . . . just a man-to-man handshake and smile of greeting.

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My service as a sergeant in command headquarters in the Air Force helped me to become more comfortable with officers of flag rank, and as I have met more of them, I have come to realize that by and large, they are accomplished people who share many of the better attributes of all humankind. They know who they are, don’t have to prove anything, and have a pronounced willingness to share the workload with the rest of us, pretty much as equals.

I enjoy working together with all these wonderful people who are dedicated to making our world a better place for all of us to live. It is that great singleness of purpose that unites us in our endeavors, regardless of our ranking. It is good that civilian clothing does not ordinarily include any insignia of rank such as is required for military discipline. We all look pretty much alike as we roll up our sleeves to tackle the everyday labors of making society work toward the betterment of us all.

Veterans Day is coming soon; the former Armistice Day of November 11 has been renamed. There has been a lot of tinkering with three days set aside for honoring or remembering our veterans: Armed Force Day, around May 20, is observed mainly on military and naval bases wherever situated around the country. It goes by pretty much unnoticed in the countryside, probably because of its proximity to Memorial Day, the modern transformation of Decoration Day. Our local veteran’s organizations, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, generally plan something or take part in the observances others plan.  

The Patriots Salute to Veterans is planning a parade in Columbus again this year. The Columbus Lions Club has entered both the Veterans Day and Christmas Parades in years past when there were more of us. Frank Smith is a charter member and a veteran of WWII and is no longer active, but I’d like to honor him one more time if we can find a way. So y’all come out for the parade and support our veterans, OK?