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Whitey Harwood: Veterans don’t support memorial wall

By Whitey Harwood

The letter to the editor’s headline on Jan. 31 stated “Veterans support Rowan memorial wall.”

As a combat veteran, that caught my attention, so I read it. Then it really got my attention.

I know a lot of veterans, so I called four of them to discuss this memorial wall.The first thing that “we five” would change is the headline. For us, the “s” should have been moved from veterans to the end of support. then it would have read “Veteran supports Rowan memorial wall” Not one of us supports anything about it.

The second thing is that the math would have to be changed. Five taken away from more than 10,000 veterans would be just more than 9,995 veterans. You can remove us from your count because we don’t need you to speak on our behalf. We are all grown, mature, well educated and free thinkers.

Two of us got our higher education from South Rowan High School. One got his from Corriher-Lipe Junior High School. The fourth one has two degrees, with a master’s from the University of Tennessee. The fifth one has his degree from the State University of New York. No, he’s not a Yankee, Clyde. He’s a damn Yankee. He came to Rowan County over 40 years ago and stayed. The rest of us were born and raised here.

For our veteran’s status, only one is not a Vietnam veteran, but he served four years in the Air Force. One is a Vietnam-era veteran. He served in Germany during the war.

I asked him if he saw any combat in Germany.

He said, “No, I was chair-borne, not air-borne.”

I asked him what that meant.

He said, “I worked in finance, so I sat in a chair for three years.”

The third one is just a regular Vietnam veteran. He was there, but not in combat.

I asked the fourth one if he was a Vietnam veteran.

He said, “I’m not a Vietnam veteran. I’m a Vietnam ‘combat’ veteran!”

We have a non-Vietnam veteran, a Vietnam-era veteran, a regular Vietnam veteran and a Vietnam combat veteran. There is a world of difference in the four, but we were all in agreement about the wall. It will only help one person.

Out of all the comments our group came up with, this is about the only one the Salisbury Post could print. After reading the letter, veteran No. 4 said, “The only thing I can say is it’s beyond comprehension.”

My personal concern is why get the local government involved in an erection of a wall?

Don’t you think they have enough with styrofoam cups about to runneth over and plastic bags about to bust at the seams? Just imagine what they already have on their plates. All those smokers still using parks with no place to put them cig-a-butts since the “locals” had the butt cans removed. What about all those Dollar General stores to worry about? Did you think about what might be laying heavy on their minds? They’re still trying to figure out how that trash gets in them ditches.

Now, think about this. The locals are sitting around, drinking out of their styrofoam cups, using plastic straws, waiting by the phones with bated breath for one of their young’uns to call. Then, one calls to let them know that releasing balloons is littering and against the law, too.

You want local government to get involved with something that no one needs? Why do we (Rowan County taxpayers) need another monument so someone working on the third shift can spray-paint it? We will not stand up for your erection, but we will speak out for a rejection of another memorial.

A good country song for this magnificent monument would be “Leave Them Boys Alone,” by Hank Williams Jr. with Waylon Jennings and Ernest Tubb. And as Ernest used to sing, “Thanks. Thanks a lot.”

Whitey Harwood lives in Rowan County.

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