Honoring Our Hometown Heroes

May 22, 2020
Weekly Columns

We are blessed to live in a free country, but that freedom doesn’t come without a price. Every year, Memorial Day is an opportunity for us to remember our fallen heroes and reflect on all that they sacrificed for our country. While many of us can’t gather in person this year, that shouldn’t stop us from taking time to honor the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom.

This year, I’m thinking of men like Harold “Gene” Sellers, an Arkansan who was one of the first men to die on D-Day. He parachuted behind enemy lines, and his sacrifice allowed other Americans to storm the beaches of Normandy. Mr. Sellers was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star posthumously.

I’m remembering the Wise family from El Dorado, whose three sons, Jeremy, Ben and Beau enlisted in the military. Jeremy retired as a Navy Seal and began working as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in 2009, but was killed by a suicide bomber at a CIA base in Afghanistan. Ben and Beau both went back overseas not long after the funeral. In January, an insurgent shot Ben after he and his comrades rescued women and children in Afghanistan. A medic until his final moments, he attended others’ wounds before he was flown to a hospital in Germany and later passed away.

I’m also thinking of Herman Davis, one of Arkansas’s most decorated WWI soldiers. General John Pershing listed him among his “100 Greatest Heroes of the World War.” Although he survived combat, Mr. Davis died shortly after the war ended, due to lingering effects of poisonous gas inhaled on the battlefield. On Memorial Day in 1925, his hometown erected the Herman Davis Memorial in his honor.

The list of names goes on. These fallen soldiers and countless others are not forgotten – their legacies continue through their families and the freedom Americans cherish. We can never repay them, but we can honor them and pass down their stories for generations to come.