I sincerely appreciate Mr. Phillips recent column thanking our veterans for their service. Towards that end, such a simple expression of our gratitude as putting the names of those who died in our wars on the monument on our courthouse square has eluded us.
Mississippi lost 636 of its own in Vietnam. Of that number Scott County lost six: PFC Max Idom, Forest; Cpl Lewis Sistrunk, Sebastopol; PFC Ronnie Smith, Hillsboro; PFC Eric Ficklin, Morton; SSG Excell Ficklin, Morton; and SSG William C. Williams, Morton.
In addition to putting their names on that monument, it would be highly appropriate to do what the branches of our military do to recognize their heroes: put their names on our public streets and important public buildings rather than the names of elected officials, unless that official died violently in the performance of his or her duties.
I brought this matter to the attention of the Scott County Supervisors on 5 March, 2018. During my short address one of the supervisors asked an innocent, though ill-advised question: “Mr. Morgan, how much are you willing to pay.” Unknown to that supervisor I had already volunteered my life in service to my Nation while trying to save 17 million South Vietnamese from communism. Due to a huge amount of luck and some skill with rifle and shotgun, my name will not be on that monument. But, in response to that supervisor, I have made a deposit to fund that effort and suggest that he match my donation. I also ask all of you who appreciate our military to make a donation by contacting The Scott County Times editor.
The day will come when either wars or humans will be an archaic thing of the past. Until one or the other event occurs, our Nation will continue to exist only if its military is strong and effective. Unfortunately, we are currently relying on a small percentage of our citizens to voluntarily serve and losing an inordinate number due to stress and exhaustion. Another major war of lengthy duration would find us ill-prepared to fight it.
All of us benefit from living in the freest, richest nation this world has ever seen. Since we owe our prosperity and freedom to America, the vast majority of us can and should serve it.
Bring back the draft!
Clyde H. Morgan, LTC, USAR, IN-MP, ret.