Lookin’ back — way back
To the editor:
While visiting a voting center I was thanked for my service and the mention of a free lunch at Pappy’s Bar-B-Que, honoring all vets and the Loyalty Day parade which was so great.
Yes, Clay County is proud of all veterans. I’m reminded of WWI when our local draft board had sent notices a couple of times for a fellow for induction and he failed to show up. Last time being said that if hidn’t show, the Sheriff would come and pick him up for the shipment. Reading this in my Clay County Answers, I was telling a farmer from down county-way that the man in question shot his big toe off so he wouldn’t have to go. The farmer shut my mouth up when he told me that the man was his nephew.
I said at the polling site a few didn’t earn the thanks, as not all served honorable, however 99 percent did and some gave all.
Thinking way back, I remember when many went to Canada to escape the draft and President Carter granted amnesty and those that came back, most came through Fort Harrison, Indiana having long hair, wild beards, etc. and all acted as though they were a much better bunch of people and we had to treat them with the utmost kindness, always asking and thanking them for their indulgence in our military ways of doing things. That’s the only time I ever hated haircuts that they didn’t get.
They received the kindness treatment as we had orders to respect their rights.
I had volunteered for police work and went to two different police schools and my first job back in Indiana was picking up AWOL servicemen.
Yes, I arrested some from Clay County, also two cousins and heard all kinds of stories from these AWOL soliders serving all over Indiana. I could pick up AWOLs from right at the bridge from Kentucky to Indiana whereas soldiers would bus to Louisville and hike the bridge (Red Skelton Bridge) to Jeffersonville.
I could sit at the bridge and issue PMP passes and turn them around, sending them back to Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Later, after hearing all the stories, volunteering for recruitment duty, I worked at Vincennes for several years as a recruiter career counselor and had very few ever turn in or be picked up there.
Being transferred to Clay County for two years recruiting, that’s when I continued to always tell the kids, “The service is what you make it. Lots of time on your hands; take advantage of it. Volunteer for service schools, learn trades to help you.”
I sent many back to their high school and some I drove back, telling them they should graduate and have a talk with their high school counselors.
I don’t remember any of the enlisters went AWOL. I lost one on a second enlistment from Brazil in the Vietnam conflict and I honored him and his mother for their service.