Letter: 100 years: Honoring our vets with a wake-up call

Dear Editor:

Growing up in the forties, we saw friends and family go to war. On VE day we took to the streets to celebrate victory & our hero’s. As a GI, I studied their history and toured battlefields & Dachau. Dachau, I will never forget!   In Munich, awaiting my CO’s return, I strolled upon a “blood ditch” & the ovens. The horror of the holocaust overwhelmed me & I cried on the hood of my jeep!

Heroic stories of vets I’ve known are many. For now, I share the sacrifice and lessons of  two.

I met with Paul Corley, now at 100, to remember World War II. In 1938, he graduated in time to help vanquish the bullies of World War II.

Like Audie Murphy, Paul fought “To hell & back”as a foot soldier in the 3rd Infantry Division. Under fire for 531 consecutive days, across 7 countries, 3,000 miles in 30 months, the “blue devils” fought their way from Morocco to Dachau sustaining 34,000 casualties. (Paul was my teacher, school supt, my boss & best man)

Tom Edgar, was also elected to the House in 1960 & Betsy wheeled him thru the capitol. After D-day, Tom, CO of the 705thTank Destroyer Battalion, lost his legs at the “bulge.” Tom’s CO, Gen McAualiffe, visited and honored Tom at the Greenbrier. (The enemy asked Mcauliffe to surrender, he said, “Nuts,” now the name of the Bastogne museum)

As we honor our 30 million vets, we need remember, that for the past 100 years, they put their life on the line to vanquish dictators;  madmen like Hitler, Mussolini & Stalin who tortured, slaughtered & burned 100 million people & left their countries in ruins..

Once again the world is flirting with strong men, quick fixes and easy answers. Once again, fear mongers are selling to darker angels, preaching division & isolation, go it alone;  us, us, us & to hell with them.

As we go forward, we need remember our vets & their lessons of history & remind ourselves & our children & listen to Santayana,  “those who .. cannot remember the past, … are condemned to repeat it”!

As we choose, we need remember we didn’t become a just, free nation by quick fixes. By empowering everyone, by giving everyone a voice & everyone a choice; imperfect ballot by ballot, by regular elections, little by little, our better angels prevailed & we’ve made lives better for the world.

After this historic election, as we choose our future, is there any better way to honor our vets than to heed their lessons & their legacy?

If, voters could visit Dachau, nothing more need be said, but until then, …………..THIS IS A WAKEUP CALL

Ken Auvil, Belington, 26250 304-823-2533 [email protected]