As teenagers, we had all the answers to the world’s most perplexing issues. Then, as young adults, we might occasionally listen to an elder if we deemed one wise and worthy of our attention. But as seniors, we finally understand that we do not have all the answers – so we ponder before we proclaim.
A few days ago, as I was culling the day’s mail – trash, read, trash, trash – the Hilliard A. Wilbanks Foundation Newsletter caught my eye. It piqued my interest because I had been privileged to have met some of the family. The Hilliard A. Wilbanks Foundation was established in honor of Captain Wilbanks, killed in Viet Nam in 1967 while flying a Cessna Bird Dog as a Forward Air Controller.
PONDER: I still marvel at the heroism of Captain Wilbanks, and how he had saved the lives of several dozen friendlies by shooting at the bad guys with his machine gun poked out the open cockpit door. His plane was shot down and he paid the ultimate price. For his sacrifice, Captain Wilbanks was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Yes, Captain Wilbanks was a patriotic American and my kind of hero.
But then the headline – the obituary of Rosemary Wilbanks, the widow of Captain Wilbanks. As military families are prone to do, their assignments had taken them to several duty stations in several states. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Wilbanks moved back home to Mississippi and, with the help of her parents, raised their four young children. I met Mrs. Wilbanks at a Board meeting a few years back and was deeply saddened at the news of her passing. She was a regal lady who also had made a lifetime of sacrifices for her family, and for her country.
Was it worth the price? Every man and woman who joins a branch of the military signs a contract with America to defend our nation, even to the point of paying the ultimate price.
Captain Wilbanks paid that price! We should be forever grateful for every person who has ever served!
PONDER: Is there any hope for America as younger generations step in to fill our worn-out shoes?
Still saddened by the Rosemary Wilbanks obituary on page one, I turned the page and read about three scholarships awarded by the Wilbanks Foundation to NGA cadets looking forward to military service and perhaps a career. All three attend The University of North Georgia and are in the JROTC program.
Cadet Shelby Carlock is from Lafayette, Georgia and is from a family with
a history of military service. Her view “I chose UNG because I knew that this school would provide me with the best training to serve my country.” Her favorite subjects in high school were AP Calculus and Physics, and she played sports all four years. Her major at UNG is cybersecurity and her career goal is to be commission into Army aviation. WOW!
Cadet Matthew Anderson, from Cleveland, Georgia, said, “I chose the corps so I could graduate and become a commissioned officer in the National Guard in order to lead others.” He is pursuing a criminal justice degree and is currently enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard. Cadet Anderson is already a leader!
Cadet Jacob Parrish, from Monticello, Georgia, is also from a career military family. He stated “I chose UNG because it is one of the best schools from which to obtain a high-quality education. It also has an elite ROTC program which prepares one for commissioning. This scholarship has truly been a blessing and words cannot express my gratitude.”
These young patriots are cut from the same bolt on which this country was founded. They stand proudly at attention, ready to make our nation a better place for all.
So, in one newsletter, we are reminded of a hero and his widow, both doing what was asked of their country. And then, our spirits are lifted to learn about three young patriots, ready and willing to serve under the same oath that Captain Wilbanks took more than half a century ago.
So where does that leave us old folks? Well, ponder these possibilities…….
1. Perhaps we could start by adding our nation to our daily prayer list.
2. Fervently supporting worthy candidates for office at every level.
3. Vote – and we will send those, willfully destroying our country, back to their leftist caves.
4. And finally, check out the Hilliard A. Wilbanks Foundation at www.HilliardAWilbanksFoundation.org. Your support will be appreciated, and you will be blessed beyond measure!
God Bless America!