On this Memorial Day, I shall remember those who did not come back.
I shall remember those whose family received a coffin occupied by a fallen warrior.
I shall think of those warriors who died on the field of battle and how they will never see their loved ones again.
I shall think of those who suffered before they passed away.
This day is not about a day off, a barbecue picnic or other fun event.
To me, it is a day of remembrance and mourning.
Tony Shine still stands tall
I can still see him, 6-feet-2 and 230 pounds of solid muscle with a big smile that spoke of a spirit full of life.
Tony Shine was indeed a strong and powerful man but much more than in the physical sense.
He was a man of conviction and strength of purpose, beaming with self confidence. Educated at Colgate University and a linebacker on the football team there, he was highly intelligent with lightning-fast reflexes, a man’s man with every chromosome of his make-up, the best that America had to offer.
Tony and I were stationed at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in October 1972 when we received orders to fly our A-7D attack fighters to Southeast Asia to join the fight.
We were stationed at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base when Henry Kissinger was in Paris negotiating with the North Vietnamese over the shape of the negotiating table.
When I asked Tony what he thought about the negotiations, he quickly replied, “You negotiate with the enemy when your knee is on his chest and your knife is at his throat.”
Tony was a warrior, and the only option acceptable to him, other than total victory, was death.
Tony was the oldest of four children born to parents who believed that military service during time of national conflict was both a duty and an honor.
All four Shine children served in Vietnam. Sara served as an Army nurse; Jonathan, a West Point graduate; and the youngest was the first to die.
Alexander, also a West Point graduate, was critically wounded and spent six weeks in intensive care fighting for his life.
Tony was last seen descending into clouds on his way to conduct armed reconnaissance of Route 7, which came out of “The Fish’s Mouth” in northern Laos. His remains were brought home and buried in Arlington National Cemetery in 1996.
The story does not end there. Every year, the Air Force recognizes a fighter pilot who “most exemplifies Shine’s best characteristics: outstanding flying ability, top-notch leadership, and unwavering devotion to community.”
Last year’s recipient was Maj. Eric “Slayer” Joachim, an F-15 pilot who is stationed at RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom.
The award is presented personally by a member of Tony’s family who travels to wherever the pilot is stationed. The award is an engraved knife.
For the past 11 years, my wife and I have looked forward to attending the Piccolo Spoleto Rising Stars event.
This program showcases the outstanding youth talent in the arts from South Carolina and other Southeastern states. Included are young actors, dancers, musicians, writers and visual artists. These participants are chosen from the many who submitted applications and support materials such as videos and audio recordings.
To indicate the level of talent in these programs, a number of participants were later accepted to attend some of the most prestigious arts schools in the nation and gone on to perform around the world.
I can assure you that for $8, you cannot find another Piccolo Spoleto event to match the quality you will find at Rising Stars. This one-hour program at 4 p.m. May 27, 29 and 31 and June 2, 5 and 7 at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church across from Marion Square should be on your list of must-see events to attend. It is certainly on mine.
Bike path safety
Concerning the safety of those who ride bikes for exercise or transportation: The bike paths seem to be filled with holes and rocks, and bushes that smack you in the face. Car drivers seem to be in such a hurry that they do not allow for falling room.
Along Betsy Kerrison Parkway, the path is a parking area for some. If the county is doing road work, they block off only the side and cars still pass close by. My suggestion is to block off the whole lane so bikers can pass safely and not worry about speeders crowding them out.
I would like drivers to be respectful of others and the county to allow for safe passage of bike riders.
Riding a bike is great exercise and a way to clear your head. It shouldn’t be a fight to stay safe and avoid careless drivers.
The Legislature has shelved teachers’ concerns again. The Carolina Panthers relocating seems to be a bigger concern for politicians in Columbia.
Come election time, the teachers should encourage all of their friends to vote out all the politicians that are up for re-election.
They have displayed that they are not concerned about teachers’ problems.
Teachers should run for office. If some of them could get elected at least there would be someone in Columbia on their side.
Politicians only give lip service for educational needs during election years. Perhaps if the politicians spent some time in classrooms, they would have a better appreciation for the teachers’ concerns.
Sertoma a classic
I am so sorry to hear the Sertoma Classic has been canceled.
Being from Summerville and having been coached by the legendary John McKissick, I played in the classic for three years. It was the proving ground for many young stars of the Lowcountry, and it was the first time for many players before a big crowd.
Playing for Summerville in the Classic in the 1980s was like entering a gladiator arena because we were the finest team in the Lower Region of the state. It seemed at the time, and many times before and after, that this was the place to showcase your talents to fans and coaches.
It’s a shame that a tradition like this is coming to an end and that all the big-time programs around the Lowcountry are forgetting what football is all about.
For 48 years it worked. Why not 48 more? I miss it already.