On April 25, one of the greatest group of guys ever will hold their 55th class reunion. Most will remember them because of the ROTC program, but these boys from throughout Middle Georgia went on to be highly successful men. A president of a University, doctors, teachers, engineers, preachers, conductors, entrepreneurs, salesmen, bankers -- each and everyone of them (I missed many) is a credit to society.
Many served in our armed forces. We lost one, James Allen Davis, in combat in Vietnam.
In our tiny class there was a gunnery captain (West Point) who went into the ministry while serving. We had many colonels, majors, captains and more. Lanier and Georgia Tech produced one of our two four-star generals. One of the generals led troops on the ground, while the other was in charge of a helicopter division. Hey, I was a great paperboy.
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Six months ago when I chose to find all of them, I had no idea of the joy and sadness ahead of me. It was an honor to speak with more than a hundred of them or their wives. I spent some emotional time with wives whose husbands had passed away. Nine in total. There were six who are gravely ill.
I want to personally thank Judy for being my sole support and friend as I shared my journey.
-- Joe Hubbard
I agree with John G. Kelley’s comment. Viewpoints is no longer my favorite part of the paper either. In the past I read all of the paper, saving the editorial page and Viewpoint’s for my last cup of coffee. But some of the regular “hair on fire” contributors’ frequent rants have become so ridiculous and childish that I check to see who each letter is from before reading to see if I have put them on my conscientious ignore list. Today I added another one to that list. John Brogden’s infantile referral of our president and secretary of state as King Put and Kombat Kerry and his desire to play poker with them wasted about two minutes of my life, but that won’t happen again.
-- Carl Pirkle
Failing students and taxpayers
Bibb County and a few other school systems have a problem. Their school systems are failing. Failing the students who believe this society owes them a lifetime full of free. The system is also failing the taxpayer, who has to pick up the tab for all of this free stuff. New schools do not make students smarter. I have yet to meet a “smart brick.” Time for a change in our education system. Stop paying teachers with advanced degrees who cannot teach. Results are what matter. Enough already.
-- Ken Brown
The godmother of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act died last Friday. This wonderful and highly effective act, “mandated background checks and waiting periods for millions of gun buyers.” Two million applicants have been denied purchases of firearms since 1974 because they would have been either a danger to themselves or others.
Recently, state Rep. Heath Clark, R-Ga., tried to get passage of a gun bill allowing concealed weapons on college campuses in our state. He didn’t want any background checks on these concealed weapons. His legislative colleagues laughed off his bill. But he was awarded a Golden Sleaze Award from Creative Loafing Atlanta.
-- Frank W. Gadbois
Sierra Club votes
It’s happened: sell-out Obama has granted Shell permission to do oil drilling destruction in our Arctic waters. Soon will come similar throwing-away of our Atlantic Coast, jewel that it is, for whale nursery and sea turtle habitat, for fisheries and tourism. Oil drilling there, too. Big mess to follow, from Delaware to Florida.
In response, I value my ballot for Sierra Club board, deadline of April 29. Voting for this board is not hollow, as voting for president has become. I chose Steve Ma, Allison Chin, Joseph Manning, Lawson Legate and Cliff Cockerham, who I’ve met via e-mail and phone. They are activist environmentalists and want to keep carbon fuels in the ground. Sierra Club members, please use your votes. They matter.
-- Lynn R. Chong
Civil War remembrances
As the 150th anniversary of The War Between the States draws to a close, it is altogether fitting and proper that the Twiggs County Confederate monument now stands in its appropriate place on the courthouse lawn. Since 1911, the statue has endured the obscurity of a location that turned into a rubbish infested lot near U.S. 80. We are grateful to all who had a hand in this noble endeavor. Dedication ceremonies will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. Everyone is invited.
Indeed, April is Confederate History Month in Georgia, and as such, a myriad of appropriate remembrances will be held. Some of the more local memorial services include, but are not limited to:
Friday, April 24, 6 p.m., at Stevens Street Cemetery just south of Elberta Road in Warner Robins.
Friday, April 24, 7 p.m., at Cliett Cemetery, 247 Connector across from Peachtree Baptist in Byron.
Saturday, April 25, 8 a.m., at the Confederate statue, downtown Macon (Cotton Avenue at Second Street).
Saturday, April 25, 10 a.m., at Rose Hill Cemetery, 1091 Riverside Drive, Macon.
Saturday, April 25, Noon, at Woodward Cemetery, Hartley Bridge Road, Bibb County.
Saturday, April 25, 2 p.m., at Byron City Cemetery, 101 Murdock Lane, Byron.
Saturday, April 25, 2015, 4:30 p.m. at Fort Valley’s Oaklawn Cemetery, south side of Fort Valley/Ga. 49.
Sunday, April 26, 11 a.m. at Liberty Baptist Church, 1100 Chester Highway, Eastman.
-- John Wayne Dobson
Whom do our senators and representative really support? It is not our armed forces members and retirees. Congress, in a false cost savings initiative, is proposing to combine the Army and the Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES) with the Defense Commissaries Agency (DECA). This merger would have a drastic affect on AAFES because it would result in some Air Force commissaries and exchanges being closed. This will happen because in a separate but related effort, the Pentagon wants to slash funding for DECA by $300 million. This is just the initial cut of a projected $1 billion total reduction over the next few years.
This is another instance where Congress and the Pentagon are working together in pretend cost-savings initiatives. They hope voters will not know what each is doing. Compare this with the $150 billion that DOD spent on service contractors last year.
These actions are a badly disguised attempt to convince voters that Congress is trying to reduce military spending. The cost to maintain AAFES is less than .003 percent of the DOD budget. AAFES provides military families and retirees with inexpensive but essential goods and services. Request all military personnel, their family members and retirees contact their representatives and senators to urge them to oppose any funding cuts to AAFES and the merger of the independent and successful AAFES and DECA systems.
Also, I am not aware of any action that Congress has initiated to rectify the numerous problems veterans are encountering with the VA. After all of the congressional hearings only a few bureaucrats were disciplined. Many are still receiving bonuses. Veterans still have to wait for appointments and their care is suspect. One spouse is suing the VA because her husband died while waiting to see a doctor at a VA facility.
Come November 2016 I hope voters will ask the incumbents seeking re-election what have they done to support our military, retirees and veterans. And, I hope the press identifies how much defense contractors contributed to re-election campaigns.
-- Jim Costello
God help us
After six years of unprecedented executive actions as president (well, 51 percent of us proudly call him president, I call him the current resident), I’m trying to determine the greatest act of treason Obama has unleashed upon this formerly great country. My question was answered in spades this week. There can be no greater treason than to allow an apocalyptic enemy such as Iran to get nuclear weapons. Obama’s ‘legacy’ is more important to him than the survival of the free world. There is no other logical conclusion. May God help us all, this government surely can’t/won’t.
-- John Brogden