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September 16, 2014

George Smith: This morning, 72 years since death march

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Posted: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 5:00 am | Updated: 3:19 pm, Tue Jul 1, 2014.

WEDNESDAY’S LIST ... of beans ’n greens ’n other things:

***

APRIL 9, 1942 ... it’s been 72 years today since American and Philippine war prisoners began the infamous Bataan Death March. It was an 80-mile horror that remains one of the high crimes of World War II.

Just over a month later, the island of Corregidor fell and hundreds of other American soldiers would end up in Japanese POW camps.

In there, even after all these years, are memories in the heart as well as her mind for Elsie Wheeler of Jacksonville.

Elsie’s husband Ralph was on Corregidor when it fell. He would spend the next 40 months as a prisoner of war. But Elise, who lost Ralph two years ago in his 92nd year, still recalls that on many occasions she heard:

“I am so thankful I was not on that Bataan Death march.”

It was and still is Elsie’s war, too.

In an email she wrote this:

“Ralph was one of five brothers. His oldest brother was in the Army Air Force, but given a discharge when he was diagnosed with diabetes. One was a pilot and shot down over the Mediterranean, one was in the Navy, and his twin, who had a crippled hand from polio, served in the Merchant Marine.

“They had an uncle who retired from the Navy with 20 years, but when the draft started he was recalled and was on the USS Arizona when it went to its watery grave (Pearl Harbor).

“Our generation surely had some patriotic  men, didn’t it?"

It did ... as The Greatest Generation. And more than a few died ... April 9, 1942 ... 72 years ago today.

^^^

ON A SMALL Baptist church near the Jacksonville Walmart:

Eternity

Smoking Or

Non-Smoking

I lost the name, but that is what you’d call a clear message, huh?

^^^

THE PROPOSED new Jack’s at Lenlock is on the way. Plans are now being drawn, but start of construction hasn’t been penned down.

Jack’s is to breakfast in this town what Hardee’s once was. And that makes Wayne Reaves, a Wellborn High graduate (late 60s), a very happy man. He owns no fewer than six other  stores in addition to Lenlock, Anniston, and Oxford.

Biscuit and eggs swimming in gravy might not be on any health diet menu, but sure feels good in the food hopper.

^^^

QUOTABLE: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

^^^

BIRTHDAYS: April 6 – Lane Peoples; April 7 – Gloria Woosley and J. J. Horton; April 8 – Laurel Jennings; April 10 – Bryan Otwell; April 11 – Glenda Spoon and Tony Coalson; April 12 – Becki Burt.

^^^

TOP TEEN: Say good morning to Kelsey Wilson, a senior at Weaver High School where she is in the National Honor Society.

In addition to her academics, Kelsy is also an athlete. She plays on the softball and volleyball teams, competes in track and field.

Along the way she has been a cheerleader for the last six years, captain for the last two.

On the Student Council, Kelsey is into Big Brothers/Big Sisters, in the Leo Club, and has been a Camp Weaver counselor for two years.

Dentistry is her career goal.

“Kelsey is an exceptional student with a great work ethic,” says Dawn Clark, senior counselor. “She goes above and beyond in everything she does, whether it is in the classroom, on the playing field, or working with other students.”

Proud parents are Ann-Marie and Loki Watson and Chad Wilson.

Take a bow, young lady.

-----

George Smith may be reached at 256-239-5286 or email: gsmith731@gmail.com

 

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