Last night as I was considering this story, I listened
to "Soldier", a song that was performed by The Dixie Chick.
I can't listen to that song without it putting tears in my eyes.
It's a story song about a soldier who is shipping out to Vietnam.
He meets with a waitress and they exchange letters, she from the
safety of the South, and he from the jungles of Southeast Asia.
In the song, the soldier dies, and the young waitress is left to
grieve. While I'm not sure if the song is based on a true story,
it is a story that has been repeated through history.
I'm currently reading a history of America and I just finished the
section on the Civil War. I knew it was costly, but I guess I never
realized just how costly it was in terms of blood. Over 500,000
soldiers died between 1861 and 1865. More soldiers were killed in
one day at Gettysburg than during the entire Vietnam war. Gettysburg
we read about in history books, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars we've
It's terrible picking up the paper and reading the names of soldiers
who have died in service of our country, but nothing brings the
war home like losing a friend or neighbor.
The photo above is of James Walter Ellenburg who was smiling as
if he didn't have a care in the world. He was the son of James Lee
and Margaret Ellenburg of the Sumiton area. The year was 1966 and
he was about to ship out to Vietnam. James, like so many of our friends
and neighbors from the Dora area gave his life so that we can experience
the freedoms we enjoy today....freedoms that I'm sad to say, we sometimes
take for granted.
I'm not sure I can express deeply enough the gratitude to he and the
others who gave their lives for us. There are also thousands of men
and women from our area who left their families for God forsaken places
around the globe to serve our country. They served with honor and
came back home to their homes and families. I know the families understood
the cost of freedom and I've never known a soldier who took freedom
for granted. I am grateful to them all.
I have started on a project of collecting the names of soldiers that
attended Dora High School who died in war. My intention is to gather
the names, all the photographs I can get, and a profile of each soldier.
It will be a major project, but one I think is well worth the time.
If you have information about any soldier, please send me the information.
And today, November 11th, if you know a veteran, please take a moment
to say thanks.
U.S. Army 1971 - 1973