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Bath County News - Outlook
Owingsville, Kentucky
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November 11, 2009     Bath County News - Outlook
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November 11, 2009
 

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2 November 11, 2009 Your Hometown Newspaper Bath County News-Outlook eaven JOURNEY TO THE WALL The muffled drum's sad roll has beat The soldiers' last tattoo! No more on life's parade shall meet That brave and fallen few; On fame's eternal camp- ing ground Their silent tents are spread. And glory guards with solemn round the bivouac of the dead. From Bivouac of the Dead," by Kentucky native Theodore O'Hara. Freedom isn't free, dear reader. As I sat down to contem- plate the column I would present to you this week, there were thoughts I sim- ply couldn't get out of my mind and they continue- ously intermingled with one another. I held and caressed a fam- ily heirloom, praying for guidance. The heirloom is Called sim- ply Uncle Waiter's Bible. It is a small Army-issued Bible given to my Grand- Written by Journey Verch (freelance author and poet) Heaven Is ALot Like Kutuaky &n Charles Nattox father's brother, Walter Mattox, when he joined the Army at the beginning of World War One. He carried it safely through Europe. I have reason to believe Walter s Bible was also car- tied safely through Europe in World War Two by Wai- ter's nephew, Jesse Evans. I think my father carried it at the end of WW H and during the occupation of Ja- pan and later while he was in Korea, before giving it back to his cousin, Red. And so it stayed with the Evans family, until a few years ago when Jesse, Jr. gave it to me to hold onto for a while. It has been a great source of comfort for me on more than one occaission. As I held it the other day, I began thinking about my visit to the Vietnam War Memorial in our nation's capital. I went there in January 1983 with an Army buddy, David Gwynn, whom I was stationed with at Aberdeen, Maryland. We were classmates in a tank turret repairman's ClaSS. Gwynn and I became fast friends and decided to go to Washington D.C on that particular weekend in Jan. 1983. The Vietnam War Memo- rial had only been unveiled a few months earlier and the jury was still out on how it .was being perceived by the nation Gwynn and I (all soldiers call one another by their last name or a particularly derogatory name other- wise) were more interested in 'the entertainmenf' sec- tion of town and I will say one thing about Washing- ton D.C those folks take entertainment to levels un- dreamed of. So with the weekend al- most over, and Gwynn and I both extremely hung over, we managed to iron our dress green uniforms and decided to visit the Vietnam War Memorial before trav- elling back to base. The Memorial wasn't even being called 'Tae Wall" back then. We snuck a few beers on i the tour bus and had guzzled base. weren't on duty. It was the them down (in a high speed, Weeventuallybothgradu- official bar of the the 13th no drag, military manner) ated from the class in Mary- SUPCOM, of which we were by the time the bus stopped land and in a very strange a part. and we made our way to the twist of fate ended up as The bar was a tough bar. memorial roomates at Fort Hood, When you walked into it, And then we were simply Texas. they searched you for weap- overwhelmed with what we We spent two years to- ons. If you didn't have one, saw. gether before beth of us were theywould give you one, just We hadn't prepared our- honorably discharged,so you might have a fighting selves emotionally, and as We never once spoke of chance. we were young soldiers in our journey to the wall, Like I said, it was a tough our dress green uniforms, though it seemed we shared bar. several of the old vets in- all of our other experiences Fort Hood was always a sisted on shaking our hands and personal secrets as dangerous place and I see and thanking us f or serving Army buddies across time from the latest shooting our country. Many simply have done. there, that tensions remain unburdened themselves Other than a couple of high, and I feel for the fatal- with things they had been months of desert taining lies of those who are there. carrying around inside of at the Mojave Desert when I too, saw people killed their souls for far too long. everyone thought we were there. Things they whispered to going to war with Lebanon I never saw Gwynn after that black granite wall. (right after the Marine bar- we left Fort Hood. We talk- Things they whispered to racks was blown up), we ed on the phone a couple their buddies that they had served in total peace and of times and when I finally served with, but who they never saw a shot fired at us made plans to go to Knox- would never see again,in anger, ville to see him, it was too Somewhere in the time we Not by enemy soldierslate. He'd lost a battle to were standing there, next to anyway, brain cancer. that dark wall with those I was activated years lat- David Gwynn was a good thousands upon thousands er out of the Army Reserve friend, a good man and a of names inscribed upon it, for Desert Storm, but luck- good and faithful soldier. as one teary-eyed Vietnam fly never left Fort Knox. And I will never forget our vet after another came over Fort Hood in 1983-84,journey to the wall. to shake our hand, I began a tough post and military I think of him often and I to weep. gangs were everywhere, will have a good thought for And Gwynn was weeping Gwynn and I liked to go to a him and all the other fine too. particular bar on post called veterans on Veterans Day. I don't remember travel- THE SUNBURST, on these Freedom isn't free, dear ling back on the bus to our rare occaisions when we reader. friends close." 'Tie honored others how much they mean To cherish the earth and his country and counted to us? Have we let people think of others before I take his blessings." "She valued in or built up a fortress that more than my fair share. To ing so, their words become my actions towards others, truth, peace, and love." 'Tie no one can infiltrate? What strive to be peaceful and help the last pieces of the puzzle Moreover, people cannot was a good friend to ani- gorgeous memories would others whoare robbed of to complete the picture of tell stories about me unless mals." "She stood up for the others construct around our their peace. To take in stray Humans are naturally someone's life here on earth. I take them deep inside my underdog." 'Tie gave even lives? What lovely and af- animals--because every liv- drawn to beauty, whether it Funerals are often a grand own heart and give them when it seemed like he had fectionate actions and deeds ing thing needs a place to " is found in nature or other reflection of a life well lived my friendship and love, and nothing to give." I often won- did you and I do for others? callhome. To keep company ! people, we gravitate towards or a life squandered away. in turn, allow them to give der what people will say of How many people will at- with children because they ', what we find aesthetically At funerals people gather to me the same. Yet, like you, me ai r I'm gone, and while tend our funerals? alone possess a sense of the i pleasing to our sight. Most grieve, to say goodbye, andto I worry and wonder about you may think it makes no For me, the best way to lighter side of life. To have of us are keenly aware that share stories about the per- those ugly pieces of me that difference what people say of leave behind an impression a daily encounter with God. ii outer beauty does not nec- son who has passed on, and I have left lying around for you because you l no longer of beauty is to have a smile To make friends with elder- ': essarily equal inner beauty, suddenly these stories take others to pick up. Ofcourse, be around to care, I tend to or kind word ready for the ly people so they will have :: but:: knowing this doesn't on a life all their own and at some point we have all think what ~peopl~::say af- ~people I encounter each companionship and I will I! relied on the much used ter we are.gone is a pretty day. To calm more fears benefit from their wisdom. ; idiom, '~.~auty is in the eye good indication of where than I create. To strive to To love my son. To take my " of the beholder (which first you and I end up after this give more and take less. To marriage vows seriously. :! appeared in Margaret Wolfe leg of the journey is corn- love as I want to be loved. To never forget that I am Hamilton's little known plete. If you and I could at- To cherish my own life and not alone on this earth. To '4 piece of fiction'2Ylolly Bawn"tend our own funerals, what nurture it so that I may feed remember that I cannot do written in 1878), but this id-would we want others to say others with my abundance all the good the world needs, iota is hardly enough to help about us? Now comes the of joy and compassion. To but that the world needs all you or I get by when others hard part, where you and treat ALL people equal and the good I can do. These are :. behold our ugly behaviors. I must ask ourselves if our love them unconditionally, the ways I intend to leave ,' What will people say of us lives are worthy of what we To bake bread and cookies behind small beautiful piec- , once we are gone? "She was want people to say about us for people when they least es of myself. What about !~ a great mother." 'Tie was once we are gone. Have we expect it. To love my family you? What beautiful pieces a kind marl She loved shared our gifts? Have we and neighbors. To be a good of yourself will remain once her neighbors and kept her loved others? Have we told citizen of in my community, you are gone? stop us from valuing su-everyone present can finally perficial beauty and elevat- "see" a person's whole life, ing beautiful people to a The stories told at funerals higher standing even when reveal whether or not the de- their actions fail to match ceased was a good neighber, what our eyes see. Perhaps sPouse, child, friend, parent, American author Dorothy and citizen. These stories Parker said it best when she also reveal how the deceased stated, '2]eauty is only skin conducted business, religion, deep, but ugly goes clean to and politics. But more im the bone." In other words, portantly, funerals are the the fairest maiden in the place where everyone comes land may indeed be rotten carrying a piece of the dear- to the core. So how can we ly departed's character, and adequately and accurately these pieces are what helps define someone's beauty if illuminate the fullpictureof we cannot judge their beau- someone's life. ty just by our sight alone? I Have you ever stopped to firmly believe a person's true wonder what piece of your beauty is found in what re- life someone carries around mains after all has been said with them? What beauty or and done. Thus, the only ugliness have you created way to "see" someone's true durbag your brief and pre- beauty is to look at some- cious time here on earth? I one's whole life, but sadly, have given these two ques- to do this, we must attend a tions much thought when person's funeral, it comes to my own life, and Aside from the typical while I hope that I have well-wishers, and those who crossed paths with many are"deathly" at aid to speak people who choose to see ill of the dead, in general, beauty in all living things, people tend to speak truth- even me, I am aware that fully at a funeral, and in do- my true beauty comes from ~ Ym~ Cross the Ohio River at Maysville go West on Rt. 52 to O.K. Warehouse Ripley, Oh. 45167 Sun. Nov. 15th 10:00 New Building Supplies Plus 20,000 + Sq. Ft. of Beautiful Hardwood Flooring- 6,000 sq. ft. of Ceramic Tile including 500 Odd Boxes- 4,000 sq. ft. of Laminate- N Bath County News-Outlook is published every Wednesday by M.C. Investments d/b/a/Bath County News-Outlook, 71 Miller Drive, Owingsville, KY 40360 Periodicals Postage Rates are paid at Owingsville, KY 40360 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Bath County News-Outlook, PO Box 272, Carlisle, KY 40311 Members of the Kentucky Press Association The International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors 2009 SUBSCRIPTION RATES: $25.00 for year in Bath County, $30.0~ elsewhere in Kentucky and $35.00 out of state. Subscriptions include sales tax where applicable. All subscriptions payable in advance. WE ENCOURAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Bath County News-Outlook welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must be signed and include a da)~me phone number for confirmation. Unconfirmed letters and unsigned letters will not be published. Phone numbers are not published. We reserve the right to deny publication of letters and to edit letters for content. The deadline for letters to the editor is 5 p.m. Friday. Send letters to: Editor, Bath County News-Outlook P.O. 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