Historical Places & Events

The Demise of the Plains Buffalo

The Bison Trail - 1908 - 2

Certainly most all of us have either read or heard tales of the demise of the huge herds of Bison that were so predominate and plentiful in the early 1800’s. I recently realized that I was certainly educated with regard to the referenced demise but possessed little to no perspective on its magnitude. That all changed when by happenstance I ran across the photograph shown below.

The Bison Demise - 02

The Bison Demise - 03I found that photo personally to be a stark kick in the behind, a reality check if you will. I had seen numerous drawings and paintings in the past such as the one just to the left depicting in some manner the demise of the numerous buffalo herds but apparently none of them had any real sobering effect at the time. I suspect, at least for me, that many drawings and paintings depicting such events border on entertainment rather than journalistic documentation such as the above photo with a mountain of buffalo skulls and horns.

As history informs us, as the 19th century was nearing its end the Bison population had been all but decimated. With a growing population of upwards of some 30 – 60 million at the beginning of the 19th century, by the late 1880\’s there were as few as 1000 left and the Great Plains buffalo was at the edge of extinction. William Hornaday, a noted conservationist of the times, estimated the total population of Bison in 1889 to be 85 free ranging, 200 in the Yellowstone National Park federal herd, 550 at Great Slave Lake in Canada and 200 in zoos and private herds. By 1902 there were only 23 buffalo estimated to be in the Yellowstone National Park herd and 700 in private herds.

I ran across a couple of other additional journalistic photographs that further added to the stark realization of the human inflicted tragedy that befell our subject animal. One can only ponder at what our forefathers were thinking as they plundered these herds. On the other had, history has certainly taught us that when there is a great bounty, there is likewise an accompanying of great waste.

The Bison Demise - 01

The second of the two photographs is noted as being taken in Dodge City, Kansas in 1878 at the Rath & Wright Buffalo Hide Yard showing an estimated 40,000 buffalo hides stacked in one location in their hide yard. And let me note that a larger view of the subject photos can be seen by clicking on them…

Rath & Wright\'s Buffalo Hide Yard in 1878 showing 40,000 buffalo hides - Dodge City, Kansas

It would have probably under normal circumstances never even crossed my mind as to the history and demise of the Great Plains buffalo. After all, I had seen the film “Dances with the Wolves” where there was one traumatic scene showing the waste left by white hunters in their quest for hides. But in reality that scene did not even scratch the surface of that crime against nature when viewed in these few photographs.

In closing I should note that the current North America estimated Bison population including Canada herds, the Yellowstone National Park herd, zoos and private herds is inclusive of approximately 500,000 buffalo. It took less than 100 years to decimate a population of between 30 – 60 million buffalo and over 100 years to bring that population back to only a half-million. 🙁

Is the final demise of the dreaded Polio Virus finally here?

My generation was born into an era where the most dreaded disease affecting our Nation was that of polio. It could affect anyone at any age but it was most prolific in the children and young adults. Not unlike earlier generations, we lived with a palatable underlying fear of the polio virus visiting us and leaving permanent physical destruction within our families if not death itself. And without the dreaded but life-saving iron lung, death would have been almost certain for those in the photograph below.

Children’s Polio Ward - Iron Lungs

A Children’s Polio Ward

Polio Vaccine HeadlinesIt was the grandest of news therefore when in 1955 news was splashed across the the front pages of our state and national newspapers that a vaccine had finally been developed under the guidance of Dr. Jonas Salk that would begin to wipe the scourge of this disease from our mist which gave us a moment of pause and thankfulness to reflect on the past but more importantly, a much more secure future from the dreaded disease.

But the even better news of the this day is that we are apparently nearing a point where the disease will be completely eradicated from this earth. The disease left our nation’s shores and subject of conversation years ago yet continued to wreak its havoc across other areas of our globe. But here in the United States, out of sight – out of mind.

A piece was written and published on the NPR (National Public Radio) today that details the demise of polio and declares that quite possibly by the end of next year, 2016, the disease will be completely eradicated from the entire globe. You may review and read the article “here” along with several interesting interactive charts.

This news is surely something well worth noting, acknowledging and celebrating but due to our fortunes here in this country and medical research in general, only those mostly from my generation and earlier will make any note whatsoever of today’s news on one of the greatest nemesis of our lifetime. One down but oh so many more to go…. 🙁

A perspective on war and death….

I ran across this video this morning and found it to be quite sobering in its presentation of the lives lost, both military and civilian, specifically with regard to World War II but also inclusive of all wars which have occurred on this earth. With D-Day remembrances perhaps fresh in many minds I thought it most appropriate subject matter….

The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo

Docudrama Review – “The Men Who Built America”

5-Star Post MasterThe Men Who Built America - 01

I am usually highlighting and reviewing a film I have recently watched but today there will be a bit of a change. It’s more a ‘made-for-television’ feature that I choose to chronicle than a film as it were.

I recently watched a documentary on the History Channel, and for a second time I might add, and thought perhaps I should share how much I personally enjoyed it, both for its educational value as well as the gleaned entertainment.

The 6-hour docudrama or mini-series was first broadcast in the fall of 2012 and is presented in four – 90 minute segments. It chronicles the world’s greatest economic expansion and technology innovations produced over a period of some fifty years of America’s history from the close of the Civil War to the Great Depression and World War I and focuses entirely on the five men who were at the center of it all and portrayed by the character actors shown below ….

The Men Who Built America - 02

There does seem to be, in my view, something eerily familiar about it with many similarities to the America that we live in today. Perhaps in some ways it seems somewhat reflective of the current class struggle being exploited and debated within this country as I speak, in particular regarding the wealthiest 1% and the collapse of the middle class. And… they even bought themselves a President! Check out this intriguing video preview – “Presidential Election of 1896″.

If you are a history buff and/or enjoy watching these types of documentaries, I highly recommend this one. If you click on this link, Video Exclusives, you will be able to choose from several short video excerpts from the docudrama to give you some idea of content. As for me, well it’s getting a 5-Star review…. 🙂

The Genealogy of a Radio Station….

Question for the day: What do the radio call letters of station “WLS” have to do with the 1924’s Sears, Roebuck Company advertising slogan, “World’s Largest Store”, used during that same era? The short answer is of course… Everything! But surely I have gotten ahead of myself a bit. Let’s go back several decades….

Sears-Roebuck-Co-Worlds-Largest-Store

When I was a teenager and rock and roll was getting itself established into our culture most of us had a radio going whenever possible. We spent the majority of our listening time focused on our local radio stations. But come the night and in large numbers teenagers would start fine tuning their radio dials to 890 kHz trying to pick up the “IT” station of those days which broadcast out of Chicago, Illinois with 50,000 watts of power. Radio waves were less interfered with at night and about the only time you were able to tune the station in given the great distances most of us were from the transmitter.

I suppose there were three reasons we teenagers were so focused on this radio station. First and foremost was the fact that they seem to get the latest record releases first so the station was where you could hear the latest and greatest rock and roll songs first. Secondly was they had great disc jockeys and lastly, well that’s just what you did when it got dark. Below is a bit of audio memorabilia….

(Memorable WLS Radio Commercials featuring The Anita Kerr Singers)

WLS Radio - 1962(Click to Enlarge)

But to the real purpose of my post, what the majority of us never knew unless we perhaps lived in Chicago was that those call letters of W-L-S had a profound meaning. To the majority they were just call letters, that’s all. All radio stations had call letters, right? Well, yes that is right. All radio stations do have call letters but normally not call letters that actually stand for something. WLS as it turns out was the abbreviation for “World’s Largest Store”.

And what is the world’s largest store, well in 1924 when the radio station was started, the major merchandizing company who actually established the station bestowed that title upon themselves and that company was the very well known Sears, Roebuck & Company. Quoting from the Sears Archives themselves…

“In 1924, a new Chicago radio station, with the assigned call letters WBBX, began broadcasting under the ownership of Sears. Despite the assigned call letters, Sears first broadcast the station under the call letters WES (World’s Economy Store). An immediate hit, the station kicked off a grand opening from a broadcast station in Chicago’s Sherman Hotel using new call letters—WLS (World’s Largest Store)—days later. The station broadcast farm and weather reports, music, tips for housewives, and evening entertainment. The National Barn Dance, heard on Sunday evenings, became the most popular radio program in the Midwest. Sears sold the radio station in 1928, but the station continues to use WLS as its call letters today.”

The radio station only stayed under the guise of Sears, Roebuck Co. for about four years but given the fact that they even had anything to do with the origin of such a nationally known station is just an amazing fact to me because it was only recently after all these years spanning from the 1950’s until now did I myself have the slightest inkling of the station’s genealogy.

Below are some interesting links if you are interested or curious with regard to a more comprehensive tour of the stations history….

The History of WLS Radio
WLS Radio Timeline
WLS – Wikipedia

The Man Who Saved the Children….

I will never forget the moment I saw my first documentary which introduced me to Oskar Schindler and his amazing story which was immortalized in the film by Steven Spielberg in his 1993 historical drama titled “Schindler’s List”. I’m sure it’s a story and a film that most are familiar with by now.

But last night I was unexpectedly introduced to yet another man whom I was not in the least familiar with whose courage and humanity seemed to humble my sheer existence. That would be the story of an English gentleman named Nicholas Winton who by all accounts had saved the lives of some 669 children, mostly Jews, from almost certain death in the early beginnings of World War II in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.

Nicholas Winton(Nicholas Winton – Click to Enlarge)

His story was televised last night on CBS on a segment of “60 Minutes”. I found his story mesmerizing and very touching. So much so that I could not in good consciences not share what I had seen. If you did by chance see this program then I assume you may share similar sentiments as my own, but if not I strongly recommend that you take the 15 minutes or so required to watch the video to which I have posted below.

You can no longer view archived videos on the CBS 60-Minutes website without being a paying subscribing member so I have had to remove the links to the two previous videos I had on this post. I did find one of the videos on YouTube, the better of the two although lacking in quality, but it is the same report as broadcast on 60 Minutes.

Certainly there are some of you who may already be aware of this man’s story but for me, I was not unfortunately. In these days and times it’s always uplifting to get a little re-enforcement in the humanity of mankind.

Sugarbaker & Associates Interior Design – “For Sale”

If that name in the title sounds a little familiar well it should I suppose. That was the name of the business associated with the 1980’s hit television show “Designing Women”. And speaking to the point of the business being for sale, well not really of course because we all know it was only a “make believe” business anyway! But nevertheless it is being sold….. sorta!!

Designing Women - 02(Designing Women)

If you can recall the opening credits of the popular television show you will remember perhaps the elegant Victorian home portrayed as the location of their designing business in Atlanta, Georgia. I have included below a couple of screenshots from a couple of typical episodes from their television show which were used in those referenced opening credits….

Screen Shots - Sugarbaker & Associates Interior Design(Television Screen Shots – Sugarbaker & Associates Interior Design)

In actuality, the structure they were showing and portraying as their business is actually an old home located in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is known here as the “Villa Marre” and was placed on the state’s “National Register of Historic Places” in 1970. Perhaps a brief history at this point would be in order….

The elegant Victorian style home was built in 1881 by Angelo Marre. Angelo died in 1889 and his wife continued to live in the house until her death in 1904. After that the house had a sordid history being sold to various owners and for various purposes to include a nursing home, dance studio, Alcohol Anonymous meeting hall and rental property. Beginning to suffer from major deterioration due to lack of upkeep and neglect over those years, in 1964 it was decided by the city to bulldoze the property but fortunately a buyer named James Strawn Jr. stepped in and bought the property for $11,550 (not a typo) in January of 1964. Mr. Strawn was a prominent Little Rock businessman concerned over the loss and tearing down of so many of the cities old historic homes in the name of urban renewal.

After two subsequent years of renovations to the home, Mr. Strawn christened the home “Villa Marre” in honor of its builder. After its completion he sought a guardian who would insure the home never again fell into neglect. In 1974 he gave the home to the Quapaw Quarter Association who assumed the responsibility for its preservation.

In 2002 the home returned to private ownership when it was sold to Michelle and Grady Trimble for $233,000. The many historic furnishings in the home were sold at public auction at that time. And now we have come full circle and arrived back at December of 2011. And once again the home has entered the real estate market and the current owners are asking $450,000 for the stately old place. I won’t lie and say I wouldn’t like to have it but I have always assumed that owning one of these stately old homes and the associated energy and upkeep costs can be easily compared to Mr. J.P. Morgan’s quote regarding the same for yachts, “If you have to ask how much it costs, you probably can’t afford it!”

But even I can boast as to having had at least a small amount of personal history with this magnificent home myself. For me it all began in the mid-fifties with the onset of the birth of Rock & Roll. My young life would intersect with the Villa Marre when….

A prominent Little Rock dance instructor named Dorothy Donaldson had moved her dance studio into the old home in the early to mid-fifties. One of my sisters was taking ‘tap dancing’ there from one of her other teachers during that time and it was also during the time when Rock & Roll was taking the kids by storm. I was having a heck of a time trying to master the latest dance moves as part of the associated “jitterbugging” craze. We found out that the dance studio was also offering classes on jitterbugging – the perfect place to hone my “cut-a-rug” skills.

At this same time there was a nationally popular television show called “American Bandstand” which almost anyone will be familiar. And here in Little Rock one of the prominent TV personalities, Steve Stephens, thought we needed a similar show here locally so the television studio he worked for, KTHV, created a dance show namedSteve’s Show” which aired around four or five in the afternoon.

After a few weeks of honing my jitterbugging skills my instructor, who was a young girl herself, and I decided to get tickets to be on Steve’s Show and go down and show our stuff. Now, one of the things they did on the show each day was have a dance contest and award the winning couple a carton of Coca-Colas. We quite honestly had no high expectations but nevertheless we gave it our best and lo and behold – we won the carton of cokes that day! It wasn’t the Academy Awards you understand…. but perhaps at that age it was reasonably close.

In addition to the association with the home I had as a young teenager, the home also found its way into my photographic passion for architectural structures. Below are a couple of renditions of the old home reflected in a photograph I took of the home back in 2006. Architecturally speaking, of all the old homes still alive and well in Little Rock, it has always been a favorite of mine. The second photograph is something I created using a special rendering technique using the graphic’s software program Paint Shop Pro.

Villa Marre - Quapaw Quarter Historic District
Villa Marre - Extract Photo

Well, I think I have milked this subject for about as much as I can. But I do so enjoy and appreciate these old stately homes that can be found here in Little Rock. I’m sure they attracted much attention in their heyday and for some of us, they still do. Anyway, the main thing here was to give everyone a heads-up in case anyone was interested in purchasing a little memorabilia from the Designing Women television show for a measly $455,000!

The Vietnam Veteran – A Never Ending Debate….

The Three Soldiers - Vietnam Veterans Memorial(The Three Soldiers – Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial)

Following on the heels of Veteran’s Day is perhaps a reasonably appropriate time to air this matter. Not unlike the Vietnam War itself, who is and who is not a “Vietnam Veteran” seems to spark debate and controversy from time to time even these many years later. I am actually quite struck with how often I still run across a “letter to the editor” column in some newspaper that takes issue with the designation and its application in one situation or another.

It would seem that within the confines of the Vietnam era there has since been a distinct debate regarding the definition of what constitutes someone being a veteran of that war. There have been numerous debates within various states within the United States who offer special vehicle license plates for Vietnam Vets as to who should be or should not be eligible to receive such plates. One of America’s main stream and more popular veteran’s organizations, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), has received their share of flack over its criteria regarding membership of a Vietnam Veteran into its rank and file.

As to the license plate issue, most States who offer a special license plate with the designation “Vietnam Veteran” do not prerequisite any particular criteria to be eligible for such plates other than having been in one of the branches of the military during the subject war’s designated time frame while the VFW on the other hand requires that you meet the criteria stipulated for being awarded the “Vietnam Service Medal” (or Ribbon) which has a specific criteria associated with it is much more restrictive. So, what are the facts regarding this issue or are we dealing with simply opinion and bias as to what really constitutes what is most commonly referred to as a Vietnam Veteran….

The primary issue within the debate for the most part comes down to whether an individual served on the ground or “in country”, as it is most often referred, within the confines of the Republic of Vietnam itself. They have come to be referred to as an “in country” military personnel as compared to those military personnel who were on active duty during the time-frame of the war but were stationed at other locations around the world, be it the United States or other foreign locations. There are two distinct terms and definitions that have emerged which are intended to define apparently two different categories of Vietnam Veterans. Those designations and definitions are as follows:

The first designation we look at is the one termed “Vietnam Era Veteran” because it is the one inclusive of ‘all’ military personnel who were serving in any branch of the Armed Services during the time period from August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975. This designation was established by the United States government through the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRRA) enacted in 1974. Below is an excerpt from that act which defines the Vietnam Era Veteran….

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Sec. 4211. Definitions

As used in this chapter –

(1) The term “special disabled veteran” means –

(a) a veteran who is entitled to compensation (or who but for the receipt of military retired pay would be entitled to compensation) under laws administered by the Secretary for a disability (i) rated at 30 percent or more, or (ii) rated at 10 or 20 percent in the case of a veteran who has been determined under section 3106 of this title to have a serious employment handicap; or

(b) a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of service-connected disability.

(2) The term “veteran of the Vietnam era” means an eligible veteran any part of whose active military, naval, or air service was during the Vietnam era.

(3) The term “disabled veteran” means (A) a veteran who is entitled to compensation (or who but for the receipt of military retired pay would be entitled to compensation) under laws administered by the Secretary, or (B) a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability.

(4) The term “eligible veteran” means a person who –

(a) served on active duty for a period of more than 180 days and was discharged or released therefrom with other than a dishonorable discharge;

(b) was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability; or

(c) as a member of a reserve component under an order to active duty pursuant to section 12301(a), (d), or (g), 12302, or 12304 of title 10, served on active duty during a period of war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge is authorized and was discharged or released from such duty with other than a dishonorable discharge.

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The “Vietnam Era” itself has been so defined as follows: (A) The period beginning on February 28, 1961, and ending on May 7, 1975, in the case of a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. (B) The period beginning on August 5, 1964, and ending on May 7, 1975, in all other cases.”

Now we move to the second designation and that is the “Vietnam Veteran” designation itself. This designation is generally applied to any military personnel who were serving during the time frame designated from November 15, 1961 to March 1973 to include April 29th and 30th of 1975. This is based on being awarded the “Vietnam Service Medal”, also referred to as a “Vietnam Campaign Medal” whose criteria is stipulated as follows…..

Any service member who served on temporary duty for more than 30 consecutive days, or 60 non-consecutive days, attached to or regularly serving for one, or more, days with an organization participating in or directly supporting ground (military) operations or attached to or regularly serving for one, or more, days aboard a naval vessel directly supporting military operations in the Republic of Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos within the defined combat zone (DoD 1348 C6.6.1.1.5. revised September 1996) between the dates of 15 November 1961 to 28 March 1973, and from 29 April 1975 to 30 April 1975.

Air Force Metal - VSM(Vietnam Service Ribbon)

It should be noted that within the text of the “Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act” the veterans awarded this medal are referred to as “Campaign Veterans” in lieu of the more commonly used term, Vietnam Veteran. To see a list of the campaigns associated with this medal which are a part of the awarding prerequisite, click (here).

So, as can be discerned from the information above it seems to be an unmistakable fact that we do have to deal with two separate designations. The U.S. Census Bureau (2004) reports there are 8.2 million “Vietnam Era Veterans”. Of these 2.59 million are reported to have served “in country”.

But there is yet one more piece to this puzzle. Although not supported by any published criteria, there are a block of veterans, mostly comprised of those who were “in country” and directly in harm’s way. I think for conversation’s sake we can most easily associate those veterans with the information surrounding the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial(Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Washington DC)

In 1965 a Presidential Executive Order requiring a list of combat zone casualties be compiled. The Executive Order specified that the combat zone would be inclusive of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and surrounding coastal areas. It was determined at that time that only casualties incurred within those boundaries would be affixed to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Base_Map(Vietnam War Map – Gray Area is Designated Combat Area – Click to Enlarge)

This also gives fuel to those who would contend that these military personnel who served in this specific designated area whether living or dead, reserve to sole right to be referred to as Vietnam Veterans. And if you look at that wall and truly understand what is contained therein, it is most difficult to otherwise make a case to the contrary.

I have never formulated a strong opinion on the matter and that is primarily based on my service. My direct participation in the Vietnam War fell within the criteria of the “Vietnam Service Medal” for which I was so awarded. But…. other than flying directly over Vietnam during that time my “on the ground” duties in direct support of the war/conflict were performed in Thailand. Therefore I was never actually in “harm’s way” as compared to those “on the ground” in Vietnam itself.

But, there are those on the far left of this debate who would adamantly disagree that I share the title of “Vietnam Veteran” with those “in country” vets and in one sense, I suppose one could not in good conscience argue their point but at some point a reasonable man would certainly choose to stop splitting hairs.

It is admittedly odd and often simply circumstance as to how it can play out. I think my own circumstance would be quite typical of perhaps the self-inflicted confusion surrounding the debate. In late 1964 I was transferred from my base in Oklahoma to Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa. Stationed there were a contingent of KC-135 tankers which supported a majority of the air activities in the South East Asia theatre, in particular the B-52′s flying out of Guam who were conducting bombing runs in Vietnam as part of operation Operation Arc Light. The KC-135′s were stationed and launched from Kadena AFB for the sole purpose of refueling aircraft carrying out missions within the confines of the Republic of Vietnam. I was stationed there for some 18 months performing my duties as an aircraft radar and navigational equipment repairman and then was reassigned back to the United States. Given my service there coupled with its location, I would now be referred to technically as a “Vietnam Era Veteran”.

However, while stationed in Okinawa I volunteered for some temporary duty assignments which would ultimately put me “on the ground” in Thailand at a secret location supporting a contingency of five KC-135 tankers. While at this location I was performing the exact same duties as I performed in Okinawa but because of the location where I was performing those duties, I would be awarded the Vietnam Service Medal and would then technically become a “Vietnam Veteran”.

Now, as to the memberships into various organizations for a veteran of the Vietnam War, almost all have some measure of criteria to be met when becoming one of their members. In my opinion there are probably several hundred of these organizations in existence but I will speak of the two I consider the largest and most well known. The Vietnam Veterans of America organization, the largest Vietnam Veterans organization in America, chose to use the following criteria for it membership:

Membership is open to U.S. armed force veterans who served on active duty (for other than training purposes) in the Republic of Vietnam between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975, or in any duty location between August 5, 1964 and May 7, 1975.

Membership into the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), probably the most overall popular veterans organization in America, was restricted to only those serving in the military during the Vietnam Era and having met the criteria established for the awarding of the Vietnam Service Medal.

As to my own state’s license plate debate, given the terms and definitions entered into fact that seem to govern this debate, it would seem the term used on the license plate, Vietnam Veteran, and the criteria established for displaying the license plate contradict. If we go by the technical definitions established, only those veterans who have been awarded the “Vietnam Service Medal” would be allowed to purchase and display the subject plates. But per state requirements to display the license plate you need to meet the criteria established for the Vietnam Era Veteran, therefore it seems logical that the term displayed on the plate should reflect that. Nevertheless, distinctions have been made regarding this term and whether one agrees with the final disposition or not, the matter may not ever be brought to resolve to suit all parties concerned.

vietnam_lg(Arkansas Special License Plate – Vietnam Veteran)

In closing…. it goes without saying that one could probably debate and cite one example or another to their point without end regarding this issue. On the other hand, it does seem somewhat ironic that such a discourse surrounds who is or is not a Vietnam Veteran when the same measure of controversy seems to surround the war itself. So I guess therein lies a mystifying conundrum.

Oh tell me it’s not so….

Being from Arkansas one eventually becomes desensitized to the associated stereotyping often linked to those residing in this grand old State. Well, at least with reference to myself that is it certainly true. And if you are from Arkansas, you are almost always deemed a hillbilly, even if you’re not married to your sister or living in a run-down house trailer.

You would think over time this would change but it seems that in my lifetime it will never happen. We just keep shooting ourselves in the foot again, and again, and again. Case and point…..

Several years ago Arkansas received much ill-deserved (well, perhaps not ill-deserved) national publicity when then Governor Huckabee and his wife moved into what was referred to as a double-wide trailer during his tenure as our governor. You can read about that “here”.

Then, to add insult to injury our most famous President of recent years, Bill Clinton, refused to break that mold and erected his famed Presidential Library resembling that most familiar iconic structure – the house trailer yet once again.

Clinton Presidential Library(Clinton Presidential Library)

And now just when you think things might turn around……I pick up the newspaper this morning only to find yet another Arkansan who has found a way to extend our misunderstood heritage even further into the future. No, it’s not about sisters or cousins or even house trailer issues again, this time it is all about a dog. Right there on the front page this morning was an attention-getting headline that read as follows….

“Dead Man’s Dog Killed To Go With Him To Grave”

Oh tell me it’s not so but…..turns out an Arkansan who recently passed away was buried with his pet dog per his wishes. Only problem was the dog had to be euthanized to fulfill the man’s wishes. The dog, a healthy two-year old Yorkshire Terrier, was indeed euthanized and buried with his dead master.

Due to copyright issues I cannot post the article and there are no links available at this time so I’ll just paraphrase some of the article on the incident below . If a link becomes available in the near future I will amend it to this post.

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The deceased’s sister said that the family was only fulfilling her brother’s desire to be buried with his pet, Tom Tom, which was a Yorkie. She said her brother had told her that if he should die, he wanted his dog to go with him because nobody would love him like he did.

It was noted in the article that it was rare for a pet to be euthanized for the sole purpose of burial with its owner. This statement attributed to the funeral home employees, veterinarians and the Humane Society of America alike.

A veterinarian consultant to the Humane Society noted that there was nothing illegal about euthanizing a completely healthy pet for any reason. Veterinarians refer to the practice as “convenience euthanasia”.

The local veterinarian chosen for the euthanasia noted that he had pleaded with the family to consider otherwise but in the end complied to their wishes fearing the pet might be killed in some less humane way.

A representative from Roller Funeral Homes which has more than two dozen locations statewide said that he has never heard of a family burying a pet alongside a human, much less euthanizing the pet to accomplish such.

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In closing, I suppose if he was being buried with some old scraggly hound dog, perhaps I might could muster up some sense of compassion and understanding for his request since he was a hillbilly Arkansan. But a Yorkie? I ask you….when was the last time you saw one of those old hillbilly shacks with a little ole Yorkie sitting on the front porch?

Yorkie(Yorkie – Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Well I will leave it with each of you to come to your own conclusions with regard to this matter. I personally will either have to move to another State or just suffer the consequences and verbal abuse I suppose.

Oh, and if this being buried with animals thing catches on here, I suppose this will open the door for some of my other fellow hillbilly Arkansans. When they die there are some who will surely want to euthanize their favorite mistress to be interred with them, which as you all know is normally a sheep in this part of the country.

Veteran’s Day – 2009

Veteran’s Day Observance

Veteran’s Day is the day this country sets aside to honor those who have served this country, both in peacetime and in times of crisis and war. Although it is a day set aside to primarily honor the living, it has also been our tradition to include those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice in their duty to their country. In that vein, please click on the link below to see a fitting tribute created a few years back from USA Forever.Org……

God Bless Our Veterans