Many years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a metropolis called Hollywood hunkered down to stand up and man-up for its native land. Instead of marketing political correctness, Hollywood's residents put their lives on the line for grassroots notions called individualism, capitalism and freedom. A port called Pearl Harbor transformed the make-believers into freedom-fighters.
Adopted at age 5 by a couple who owned a nursing home in Mount Vernon, N.Y., Wilsonia "Soni" Browne enjoyed entertaining and singing for the residents. Before her 12th birthday, the family moved to Miami, Fla.
We were on alert, the midnight sky charcoal black, odd noises coming from the distant jungle beyond the perimeter. My vision battled reality vs. apparitions in black pajamas. I was ready to kill, not so much an enemy, but the aggressive mosquitoes attempting to construct a housing project inside my left ear. I dared not slap or even curse my ear tenants for fear of exposing my so-called fighting position.
I recently attended a monthly luncheon sponsored by the Atlanta World War II Round Table at Petite Au Berge Restaurant. About 150 folks were in attendance, mostly World War II veterans and their spouses. It was an honor to break bread with these men and women.
As I reviewed Covington native Jimmy Cronan's personal Vietnam War journal, I realized the best way to articulate his story was to let Jimmy tell his story of war and survival, as it happened, in his own words. The following is an edited, abbreviated narrative of his combat diary.
Oct. 24, 1921: In the city hall of Chalons-en-Champagne, France, U.S. Army Sgt. Edward F. Younger, a highly decorated veteran of The Great War (World War I), is assigned to select only one of four caskets recently exhumed from four dissimilar American cemeteries in France. Each casket contains the unidentified remains of an American soldier. After thoughtful consideration, Sgt. Younger places a spray of white roses on one of the caskets.
Courage and coordination are just two of many qualifying attributes for commanding a World War II B-17 Flying Fortress and B-25 Mitchell. To reach that level requires successful training in flimsy Piper Cubs, PT-17 Stearmans, and shake-your-teeth-out Vultee BT-13s.
On a date and time lost to history, the Viet Cong found and excavated an unexploded American bomb. A demolition team rigged the weapon as a land mine and buried the device under a drain culvert along a road in Binh Dinh Province near the coastal village of Song Bon.