Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Wednesday's Post

February 12, 2014

We must say what we feel in our hearts

Feb. 12, 2014 — He was a proud old sailor, a veteran of World War II, and he was anxious to tell me about a book written by one of his former shipmates on a destroyer in the Pacific.

I promised my church friend that I would find a copy and read it but I never did.

Weeks later, I teasingly confessed to my friend that I had yet to read about his exploits and those of the other “heroes” he served with on that “tin can.”

I laughed but he didn’t.

His eyes brimmed with tears as he told me softly that the real heroes were those young men who didn’t come home.

He said the book was an honest telling of the hellish experiences they shared.

And then he said he had felt guilty because he had lived while so many had died.

I mumbled an apology and walked away with regret that I had been flippant about something so important to another person.

He was deeply respected in his community and by church members. I loved him and his family.

Weeks later, I was sitting in church when my friend’s daughter walked up and handed me a copy of the book.

It was hardbound and had an inscription from the author to his old shipmate.

The daughter told me that the book had become even more important to him after he had learned of his serious illness.

I read the book from cover to cover. It was a terrifying, heart-wrenching account of surface battles between U. S. and Japanese warships.

Near the end, I read that my friend was the only survivor in a gun crew of six men.

I wrote him a letter in which I thanked him for his service and for sharing his cherished book.

I tried to tell him of my high regard for his love of country and for his example as a humble man of God.

He smiled faintly as his daughter read my letter to him in a hospital bed.

He died the next day.

Text Only
Wednesday's Post
  • Old hospital is gone but not the memories

    Today’s concern about the fiscal health of Kentucky’s rural hospitals reminded me of one of my assignments as a reporter many years ago. I was sent by the Ashland Independent to Grayson to write a story about the closing of Stovall Memorial Hospital, the place of my birth some 24 years earlier.

    July 30, 2014

  • ‘Who’s gonna fill their shoes’ a key question

    That question was the title of a great country song released in 1985 by the legendary George Jones. That scenario also applies today to the communities we call home and our local organizations that make life better for all of us.

    July 23, 2014

  • When neighbors were really neighbors…

    Lately I’ve been remembering why I’m glad I grew up in a small town where neighbors were really neighbors, not just someone who lived next door or across the road.

    July 16, 2014

  • I don’t have a pet animal but I do have pets

    After a lifetime of listening to friends and co-workers talk incessantly about their pets, I have decided to share some words about mine…my pet peeves.

    July 9, 2014

  • I make no apologies for loving my country

    Friday is the birthday of the United States of America. As an American, I’m incredibly proud of that fact.

    July 2, 2014

  • Can’t everyone grow their own vegetables?

    The sight of home vegetable gardens brings to mind a gardening adventure worth sharing. My friend and I heard someone say at church that growing your own vegetables could save money while providing your family with better, fresher food.

    June 25, 2014

  • ‘Let’s go fly a kite’ is more than a song title

    Are you concerned that too many kids today are preoccupied with handheld electronic devices and don’t know how to play outdoors? I, too, shared those feelings until a recent visit to the seashore with my grandchildren.

    June 18, 2014

  • Old ways, old days sometimes look better

    Dr. Jack Ellis, Morehead’s senior resident historian and a dear friend, sent me a copy of a clipping from the Jan. 24, 1935, issue of the Rowan County News, now called The Morehead News. “Woman fined in county court for gossiping” is the headline.

    June 11, 2014

  • Where do we find such men…and women?

    The tiny American flags fluttered in the breeze of a beautiful day. The hillside cemetery outside Grayson seemed to be covered with them like spring flowers. Again, I was awestruck by the sight of so many red, white and blue symbols of personal courage and patriotism.

    June 4, 2014

  • The ups and downs of a political journey

    In the spirit of this political season, I am recounting the tale of an affable chap who loved politics but found the winner’s circle only once.

    May 28, 2014