His mind is like a sponge, and his curiosity is insatiable. It is a joy watching and listening to him as he processes the steady stream of information generated by his inquisitive nature.
Does anyone else out there think the moderators on last night's Republican candidate debate asked more substantive questions than did their counterparts at CNBC on the last debate? Questions seemed to be more focused on economics, foreign policy, immigration, and policy issues in general, and less on "gotcha" questions and stirring up hostile exchanges between candidates. On the "not ready for prime time" earlier debate, recently demoted Gov. Chris Christie really seemed to dominate that group. Although not a great Christie supporter, I thought his performance was more suitable to be with the "big hitters" no matter what polling information indicates.
I have been invited to speak at the Veterans Day Program at my grandson's elementary school tomorrow morning. I have attended the annual program there for the past few years. They always do a great job in honoring the veterans who attend and the kids always have a great patriotic program. To be honest, I am a little bit nervous about this program. It's not that I'm nervous speaking to a large group of people, as I do that every Sunday morning. It's the fact that they have invited me to be the speaker for this particular event. I feel a bit like Paul when he compared himself to the other apostles. I definitely feel that I am the least among these veterans. Among those who will be in the honored group are men like my father in law who served under General Patton in WWII, as well as other Korean and Viet Nam war veterans, along with Kosovo vets and men who have served in both Gulf Wars and in Afghanistan. I have Viet Nam era service, but was never stationed overseas during my Air Force career. I plan on talking about the fact that all veterans are trained to serve as combatants even though many primarily served in supportive roles. I'm going to talk about the Oath of Service and what that means to every veteran who has served. Should be an interesting time, and I know my grandson, Asher, is very excited about it. This is his last year at Charles Russell Elementary, and he's proud that his Papaw is going to be the speaker. Now I hope I don't let him down. There is the pressure!
This Saturday, November 14th marks the 45th anniversary of the crash of a chartered Southern Airways jet that claimed the lives of 75 Marshall University football players, coaches, boosters, and flight crew, as it went down just short of the runway at Tri State Airport. That rainy fall night is etched into the memories of anyone who had connections with the University in particular or the city of Huntington in general.
I had just transferred in that fall semester from Marshall to Free Will Baptist Bible College (now Welch College) in Nashville, TN. My Saturday had been filled with intermural athletics, and laundry all afternoon. There was no television in our dorm, and late that evening several of us were comparing notes and trying to get scores from our favorite teams. Most of the guys there were SEC and ACC fans (since most of them were from the southeastern US) and those scores were most discussed. I had asked several guys if they had heard anything about the Marshall vs. East Carolina game, and somebody said "I think I heard that East Carolina won". That was about all the information I could get, since Al Gore was still a reporter for "The Tennessean" then and had not yet invented the internet.
It wasn't until after lights out, as I lay in my bunk with my earphones plugged into the radio, listening to WMAK, that I heard the report on the 11:00PM news cast that a plane carrying the Marshall University football team had crashed in Kenova, WV.
I rushed to the pay phone in the stair well and called home (collect) and stood in stunned silence as Dad told me the information that was coming in over the local television stations from the crash site.
I had been in numerous freshmen classes with several of the now varsity players who were on the ill fated flight. Our neighbor, Ken Jones, the sports director of WHTN channel 13 was on the flight. My Dr. was aboard. Several other boosters and local business people - many from our neighborhood, several of them parents of my friends and former classmates were also among the dead. I would imagine there were very few people in Huntington who were not personally touched in some way by the tragedy on that long ago November night.
I remember feeling so helpless, and so far away.
It's been 45 years since that terrible night, and I still remember it like yesterday.