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Opening Arguments

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RIP, Sgt. Virgil Lee Phillips:

On Nov. 2, 1950, Sgt. Virgil Lee Phillips' unit was overrun by Chinese troops attacking near Unsan in North Korea.

Phillips' battalion was surrounded, and he was one of more than 350 soldiers unaccounted for after the battle.

The Martin County, Ind., man, who had a reputation for not walking away from a fight, was declared missing in action.

On Wednesday, after more than 57 years as a statistic, the remains of the Korean War soldier are returning to Loogootee where he was born in 1925. On Friday, he will be buried with full military honors.

Flags are flown at half-mast when somebody "big" or important or beloved dies. Wouldn't it be cool if the state did it Friday for this guy?

Posted in: Hoosier lore


Tue, 04/15/2008 - 10:09am

SB 56-2008 apparently didn't get a vote on 3rd Reading in the House for some reason. It would have required "the governor to issue a proclamation ordering the United States and state flags on property owned or controlled by the state to be flown at half-staff on the date of the funeral or memorial service of an Indiana resident who is a member of, and dies as a result of service in, the armed forces of the United States or the Indiana National Guard."

Harl Delos
Tue, 04/15/2008 - 11:54am

There's a VERY long article in the newest issue of Esquire about the last trip home of Hoosier soldier Sergeant Joe Montgomery.

They gave a call to the state troopers; the body of a dead soldier would need an escort for the 23 miles down I-65 from Seymour to Scottsburg. They rode black motorcycles. There were scores of cars, maybe hundreds, as well as about sixty members of the Patriot Guard Riders. The procession was three miles long.

In Seymour, townspeople lined the sidewalks, holding their hands over their hearts, waving flags, whispering to their kids. Every overpass was lined with flags and signs. Volunteer fire departments, in full uniform, stood at attention in front of their trucks. Farmers drove across fields to reach the shoulder, and stood in the pickup beds. On the opposite side of I-65, truckers and families pulled over, stopped, and saluted across the median.

I suspect Sgt. Phillips will receive similar honors. Americans may argue about whether we need to stay in Iraq - it's been five years since we declared victory - but we do a good job of honoring those who have given their lives for unselfish reasons.