Don’t Forget Ultimate Sacrifice By Soldiers
By Charles Cooper
Hello everyone, I hope you’re having a good week. By the time you read this it will be Veteran’s day and as I do every year, I’ll briefly recap it’s origin.
In 1918 on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the warring powers agreed to an armistice.
My uncle, Joe Cooper, was in the Rainbow division in the Argonne Forest and he told me that the eerie silence was scarier than the constant barrage they had been going through.
My uncle, Charlie Badley, said he was in a tent when a soldier rushed in yelling, “It’s over.” He said they still made them fall out with full field packs and go on a hike. When Woodrow Wilson returned from the Versailles treaty meeting, Will Rogers said President Wilson maintained our record, we never lost a war or won a peace.”
Will died in a plane crash with Wiley Post in 1935 and never lived to see how prophetic his words were. One good thing did come out of all this, the American Legion was organized in Paris in 1919 and has always been a strong advocate for Veteran’s rights.
Water Valley contributed an all volunteer unit, Battery A 140th Field Artillery, Thirty-Ninth Division, which included two locals as officers, Edwin Romber-ger and Willie Wright Frost.
They never served overseas as a unit but were broken up at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana and sent to other units. One original member, Curtis E. Pass, who was Teresa Edgar’s uncle, was killed a week before the armistice.
The local post was named in his honor and he is buried in Palestine Cemetery. My uncle, Charlie Badley, and Pat Holloway were the last two survivors of the original unit and they both lived past 100.
If you visit the World War II monument in the park, you will see that the Valley sent many young men to that war and many paid the ultimate price. Several are still living and I’ll try to list the ones I know – Wade Doolin, Rayford Edgar, John Ashford, Richard Baird, Dudley Kelley, Eddie Nelson, Crip Tyler and Wesley Meyers.
Two of my dear friends, Jim Oakley and Chester Joyner, passed away in the last two years.
The Korean war included Josie Simpson, Melvin Ford, Jim Allen, D.C. Morgan, Bob Mathis, Leon Wright, Hubert Long, Jim Peacock, C.L. Cook, W.J. Milstead, Ray Milstead, Billy Ford, Earl Babb, Bobby Poteete, Winfred McCain, Kenneth Burke, H.F. Wright, and myself.
H.F. was killed in action three days after landing in Korea. So summing it all up: After World War II came along the term armistice seemed inadequate so it was changed to Veteran’s day and is still celebrated on the 11th and not on a Monday as some other holidays are.
It was a privilege to write this column on a subject very special to me. I hope I didn’t fail to mention anyone and if I did it was unintentional. I hope to be in the Valley for the Veteran’s Day celebration and look forward to visiting with my friends.
Your input is always appreciated so let me hear from you. My email address is email@example.com or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week and don’t forget the sacrifices of our veterans that made it all possible.