Get the cake ready ...
Today is the 242nd birthday of the United States Marine Corps. This past August, my wife and I were at the site of where the Marine Corps first came to international prominence, the Battle of Belleau Wood, France. This was the first time all American forces fought in World War I. It started on June 1, 1918, with the 5th and 6th Marines (the Marine Corps call regiments Marines). The Marines stopped the Germans just 53 miles from Paris. The Marines on that battleground fought so well and so fiercely that the Germans called them Teufel Hunde, "Devil Dogs," in their dispatches, and after the battle was won the French renamed the wood "The Wood of the Marine Brigade."
When my wife wheeled me into the visitors center I announced, "Another Marine reporting, sir ..." The cemetery director said, "Welcome home, Marine!"
Chills swept over my body as they have just done retelling the story.
There they were, all those crosses at dress right dress as Marines. Yes, I was home. Semper Fi.
Happy birthday, Marines!
Damage of depression
It's been 50 years since my dad passed away, and not a day goes by that I don't reflect on my childhood of growing up without my dad in my everyday life.
My dad served our country in World War II and as a result suffered from shell-shock, better known today as PTSD. He then spent my childhood living his life in a veterans hospital on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Weekends were spent with my three siblings and Mother driving the 80 miles to go visit Dad. He eventually got cancer and died in 1967.
I would like to thank our veterans from the bottom of my heart for their service, and the one thing that I'd like for them to know is my mom and my dad always held one quote close to their hearts. No matter how bad things seemed, each of them would always say, "suicide is never an option." My dad suffered with the damage of depression but he always remembered that quote, to which I am grateful. It was tough losing my dad as a teenager, but it would truly have been devastating had I lost him to suicide.
Thank you, veterans, and hang in there.
Serve the nation well
As we prepare to observe Veterans Day, I want to thank the men and women who proudly wear the nation's uniform. You serve our country so well and your representation of the United States is evident of how great America is.
In addition, I want to acknowledge those outstanding veterans of past wars who gave of themselves by paying the ultimate sacrifice; also, the unknown soldiers who are buried on foreign shores. And let us all remember the veterans who have returned home with mental and physical disabilities. And the soldiers still missing in action, they deserve our thoughts and prayers, along with our memory of who and where they are.
Thanks be to God for his many blessings and for these great Americans! God bless America.
AUGUSTUS SWAIN JR.
North Little Rock
Flew around the world
A salute to my husband Andrew: He is a Vietnam and Gulf War veteran. Andrew was stationed overseas in Germany, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. He was a crew chief on F-102, F-105, F-4, and F-100 aircraft for seven years. He then was flying on the C-130s as a flight engineer for 23 years. He flew worldwide and will talk some, and then not, about other places he was at. He finished his career on the AC-130 gunship.
We salute all men and women veterans in our area. God bless.
Secured our freedoms
My father, Howard Funkhouser, served valiantly in the Army for more than 25 years. He was fiercely dedicated to seeking and maintaining freedom and justice. He had a special heart for helping refugees fleeing oppression. He used training in logistics, languages, and leadership to touch lives in our family as well as those under his multiple areas of influence.
Most of his military career was spent in covert operations. Even 50 years ago, security concerns led our family to shred personal mail, practice extreme defensive driving, and to be cautious when friends inquired about the nature of his assignments.
Military service is not for those seeking an easy life. It is not for those expecting an 8-to-5 job. It is not for families expecting to live in the same community from the time their children enter kindergarten and finish high school.
Those who serve in the military deserve our respect and regard for their memories. They have given honor, valor, and dignity to impact our world for justice and freedom. Many are silent about their experiences in World War II, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and assignments in the Middle East. They carry heavy loads--remembering fallen comrades, battles that left hidden scars, and a sense of loss for missions that were not successful.
As we observe Veterans Day, may we support those still in service and give a respectful salute to those who gave their lives to secure and preserve our freedoms.
KAY FUNKHOUSER HICKS
Looking for direction
Some who enlist in the military do so with the idea that they might acquire a career.
Back in the early 1960s, I was a high school graduate and was looking for direction in my life. My older brother was in the Air Force and that appealed to me in some ways. I took the exam and physical to become qualified for the pilot training program and enlisted with that in mind.
Well, guidelines change and the Air Force decided to knock down that idea. I was given a choice of language school or weather school, both good opportunities. I chose weather school, and this started me on a career that lasted almost 40 years.
After I had been a weather observer at a Strategic Air Command base in Texas, I applied to be a weather instructor in Illinois. I was accepted and spent my last two years training young airmen to be weather observers, a very enjoyable time.
Upon my discharge, my family and I traveled back to Illinois so that I could attend Northern Illinois University. My background and experience in the Air Force helped me get scholarships and run the campus weather station. After 3½ years, I received my bachelor of science in earth sciences, focus on meteorology. After getting my degree, I obtained a position with the National Weather Service, and the rest is history.
So, if you are looking for direction in your life, the military may be your answer.
Editorial on 11/10/2017
Print Headline: Letters