Flag stolen from veteran memorial
One of the most valuable flags, other than "Old Glory", our heritage, was stolen in the last week in Hartselle. It was the POW/MIA (flag) which flies over our beautiful Purple Heart Memorial, which is located in the park.
(If) the person or persons had called one of the members, we would have been glad to have given you one, but you just wanted to be a stupid moron. I have no feeling for you. Just to let you know, there are fingerprints that have been taken from the pole.
I wonder if your parents know that you have a stolen POW/MIA flag under your bed or hidden somewhere? Just in case you haven't the slightest idea what it stands for, a POW is a veteran who was taken prisoner in a time of war when he or she was serving and was captured by the enemy.
I'm told that they beat you with the butt of a gun, break your ribs, make you walk in the snow without your shoes until your feet freeze, walk for hours through towns for people to throw rocks at you, get no water to drink.
And those who can't hold out, they sometimes let them die. And you can't break line to help them, and then just maybe you get to rest when they load you on boxcars at rail stations.
Yet you have to stand because you're so crowded you can't sit and, guess what, you get to eat rats and bugs. Then, just maybe, you get a hot meal from your enemy, but what is it? It's something that you wouldn't feed your dog.
Your stomach is in turmoil and sick all the time, yet they make you work, covering their dead or digging your own grave.
The POW friends who I know say its really bad, yet there's the Pacific. It's much worse. Then when you happen to be MIA (Missing In Action), that means years after they have found your bones and have to see if there is still someone left in your family to match the marrow to see if you're related.
Whoever (stole) it didn't even make me mad. It just gives me another chance to support all my fellow comrades who were taken prisoner or died MIA so that Americans can be free–even if you do stupid things.
Just like I said, it's morons like you who don't have a clue about what the love of family, God and country are all about.
Now, to make you feel better, just take the flag, fold it up some night that you're out near the memorial, and put it on the table near the memorial.
George E. Mann
WWII Purple Heart recipient
Editor's note: The following letter deals with the Sept. 5, 2003 shooting death of James Hill by game warden Chris Champion. According to Sheriff's Department reports, Hill was killed after he wounded Sheriff Deputy Michael McCoy as deputies responded to his home on another complaint. A 2004 Morgan County Grand Jury cleared Champion of any wrong doing in connection with the incident.
Shooting incident remains painful
On Sept. 5, 2003, James Elvin Hill was shot at his home in Lacey's Spring by a fish and wildlife game warden. I hope to have some closure to his death by writing this letter. A letter came out in the Decatur Daily on the day we buried James stating how uneducated I was about game warden duties.
Three months later, the same game warden made headlines…(for another incident). It felt like another slap in the face because he was still under investigation and (at that time) had not been cleared of wrong doing in James' death.
Forward two years. The same game warden's picture is in the paper receiving an award for killing my brother and another for saving the life of an officer at the scene.
I want everyone to understand all the news made it appear James was mentally retarded. He had mental problems but not from birth. He was a normal teenager and experimented with pot and other drugs and drinking like a lot of kids do.
The drug – angel dust – was given to him without his knowledge at age 18 at a party that a co-worker and friend invited him to.
James worked under a contractor at age 18 and a co-worker/friend invited him to a party. Without James' knowledge, angel dust was given to him and his life was never the same. He had experimented before with pot, drinking, etc., not the hard stuff. He could never work after this incident.
After that, James had mental problems and couldn't hold a job again. He was a loner and stayed to himself.
Also, every paper always mentions his mother died eight months earlier. What connection does that have with his death? We loved her and missed her but her death has nothing to do with his, unless it was to look as though he had no other family which is not true. He has a loving daddy who sits and misses him every day, me, his sister, my husband, a son, a nephew and many other family members who loved him.
It is time to put this all to rest. We will never forget him, we just don't need to keep being reminded by articles and pictures and awards.
To all the people who made fun of James and tormented him: Be very careful. Teenagers experiment with drugs and there are dangerous drugs out today. The way he became after drugs could be anyone – your son, daughter, mom, dad or other relative. It only takes one time.