Remember last week when I wrote that spring had arrived? I take it back. A frosty morning today sort of changed my mind. But the sun is shining. And I hear that spring will make another attempt by the end of the week. Spring in Arkansas is always a little bit reticent. I suppose we can just sit back and enjoy the variety of weather-related experiences in store for the next month. Consider this a typical April Fools Day weather prank.
Last Friday, on Vietnam Veterans Memorial Day, Jon Bradshaw, a decorated Vietnam Vet, spoke at a school assembly in advance of Saturday’s Vietnam Veteran’s Welcome Home Celebration. Jon presented a brief and informative history of the military actions in Vietnam and the temperament of the nation by the time the action was ended. With him were five other Vietnam Veterans who shared their stories. Some of them had not been away from home before they were drafted to fight in Vietnam.. Tom Diddle made it real for the students when he explained the draft lottery to them and reminded them that they were all about the age they would have had to register if we still had the draft. The students were an attentive crowd, respectful and interested. The questions asked were all relevant and well thought out. Good job to the vets and great response from the student body.
Those of us who remember that time, know of tensions surrounding the war and the happenings at home. While soldiers of other wars have returned to appreciative fanfare and a celebratory mood. Those who served in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos faced a cruel enemy. Many of them plucked from their homes, at an early age with no background in war and no desire at all for combat were turned into unwilling soldiers in a couple of months and thrust into a “fight for your life” situation.
Then as public feelings ran strongly against the war, they began to focus on the returning soldiers from all deployments as if they were the reasons we were at war. They were called names, had things thrown at them, and even spat upon as they returned from duty. They were eventually forbidden to wear a uniform in public, because of fear for their safety. Even then, their military haircuts alone, were often enough to set off a spate of angry, hateful actions against them. While other warriors had returned to cheers, warriors in this time were subjected to jeers and distain. For that reason, Rector has decided that we will welcome them home as they should have been and as it is so delayed, we are going to do it again and again.
Saturday’s Vietnam Veterans Celebration was well attended and much appreciated. This event is one that really moves me. We honored all veterans because they have all sacrificed for all of us and our way of life. We celebrated the Vietnam Vets because they have been too long under-appreciated, and we honored the recipients of the Purple Heart because they were wounded or killed as they defended us. It was a day of mutual appreciation and much respect for our veterans, all of whom seemed glad for the celebration.
When the weather refused to cooperate, we cancelled the parade and moved everything to the community center. The Rector Cougar Band started us off sounding terrific. Chrissy Jennings Pazanowski also brought music into our hearts with her beautiful voice and patriotic songs. We welcomed Representative Joe Jett, Everett Evans, Danny Ford and Reverend Jacob Lynn as our speakers. After the program the masses were fed a fish and chicken dinner, provided by the FUMC men and John 3:16. Always a winning way to end an event. Thank you to everyone who came to help us celebrate. Mark your calendars for the last Saturday in March next year. We’ll do it again.
We are still asking for prayers for Ronda Haney and for tiny little Beau Bennett Bishop. Both of them are still working hard to get healthier.
If you want, you can still help Ronda Haney with on-going expenses. The account at Centennial Bank, 809 East 9th St., Rector is still open. The account is in the name of Ronda Haney and Alex Green. You can also contribute through Paypal: https//www.paypal.me/rondaandalex . And if you would like a snazzy bracelet, go to the Facebook page of Sarah Pruett Boyd. She has hand made bracelets for sale with all the proceeds going to Ronda and Alex.
I suppose this is all I have for this week. What else is going on that you would like to see in this column. Give me a heads up and I will share it with everyone else. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Phone number (870) 595-4997. Check out your Rector, Arkansas website: www.rectorarkansas.com from time to time. I love to be told I need to update it and I take all suggestions to heart. Take a look.
Goodbye for now.