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 Letters Published in May 28, 2008 Issue

 

 

 May 28, 2008 - Letter submitted by Rita McBride, Fortville

Boy! Just when you think you know what most reasonable people would agree is proper behavior, along come a minivan driver, Addrea Carter-Brown and Angela Tielking to blow that theory. The issue is respect and I assume that most of us agree that it's a good thing to respect both the living and the dead. But the disagreement is with priorities. Faced with a situation in which one must choose one over the other, what would you do? To me, the choice is obvious. However, I have been informed in no uncertain terms by Ms. Tielking that to choose the living over the dead is wrong and my priorities are sadly in need of reforming. I'd like to invite all readers of The Banner to write in and express their opinions, because I'm becoming increasingly curious about this issue. I apologize to the editor in advance if hundreds of people actually do this.

Ms. Tielking insists that I must show more respect to the dead than to the living and must demonstrate that respect by practicing a custom that, as far as I can figure out, only about half the population has even heard of. Ms. Tielking is a tough taskmaster and, for her, there is no compromise. A failure to stop for a funeral procession is not merely an act of not respecting, but is clearly an act of disrespect. As far as I can tell, although Ms. Tielking does not specifically mention it, ignorance of the law - oops, I mean the custom - is no excuse for not observing it.

I'm fond of quotations and enjoy collecting them; I found a couple on this topic:

"To weep excessively for the dead is to affront the living." Thomas Fuller

"We owe respect to the living. To the dead we owe only truth." Voltaire.

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 May 28, 2008 - Letter submitted by Capt. Nate LaMar, Military Academy Liaison Officer for Eastern Indiana, Henry County Councilman

On Memorial Day we honor all veterans, but particularly veterans of the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In my business travels, I’ve had occasion to visit both Korea and Vietnam, to see first-hand where each of these wars took place. Korea is divided by Communism and democracy. But just as West Germany absorbed East Germany, I predict that, one day, North Korea will also collapse and be absorbed by South Korea. Vietnam is united under a nominally Communist government, which is actually now more capitalist than China. My point with these comparisons is that eventually, forces of freedom win out.

Unfortunately the Korean War is also known as the “Forgotten War.” Some even refer to it merely as the “Korean Conflict.” In fact, the Korean War Memorial was not even constructed on the Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C., until long after the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built. But it was indeed a war. With Chinese help, the Communist North pushed south of the 38th Parallel to the Pusan Perimeter. The United Nations forces, led by the United States, pushed back, almost to the Yalu River, which is the border with China. General Douglas MacArthur wanted to push all the way to the Chinese border, but instead was relieved by President Harry Truman. The Korean War never officially ended. No peace treaty was ever signed. Instead, the country was divided by the so-called De-Militarized Zone (DMZ), a frontier of freedom.

By contrast, the Vietnam War was an incremental, piece-meal war, much like our current war in Iraq started out. Similarly, it divided our nation. General William Westmoreland tried his hardest to keep South Vietnam free, but his hands were tied by the politicians back in Washington, D.C. On October 26, 1967, a U.S. Navy Skyhawk pilot was shot-down over Hanoi. Its pilot ejected, breaking both arms and a leg in the process. The pilot was taken as a prisoner of war. He was sent to the Hanoi Hilton. When the Communists learned he was the son of a famous admiral, he was offered early release. In keeping faith with his fellow POWs, the Skyhawk pilot turned-down early release. We pulled out of South Vietnam in 1973, shortly after Lieutenant Commander John McCain and many other POWs were released. It fell to the Communist North in 1975.

I’m thankful for people like Bill Cronk, who fought in the Korean War, returned home to the Sulphur Springs area, began farming, and eventually ran for county commissioner, being elected in 1990 and 1994. He served as chairman of the Henry County Drainage Board, then was elected commissioner again in 2006.

I’m thankful for my great-uncle, Loren Lovegrove, of nearby Cowan in Delaware County. As have many fine American veterans throughout our history, Uncle Loren lied about his age to fight in Korea. For this selfless act, I applaud him. There he served in a Navy Construction Battalion, also known as the Seabees. He went on to serve in Vietnam, as well. Upon returning home from Vietnam, he joined the U.S. Postal Service.

I’m thankful for my uncle, Dale Burkman, of nearby Raleigh in Rush County. He grew-up in New Castle, then volunteered for service in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division. Wounded in action, he had to play dead on the battlefield, while the Viet Cong were coming around checking bodies. Thankfully, Uncle Dale was rescued and eventually returned home. He also now serves the U.S. Postal Service.

Whether from Sulphur Springs, Cowan, Raleigh, or from many other towns, large and small, throughout our great country, I proudly salute our veterans. In times of war, it’s easy to cut and run. But always remember that whether it is democracy in Seoul or capitalism in Saigon, forces of freedom eventually win out.

 

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