Mr. Roy, for a man who claims to be a Christian, you sometimes behave more like something the devil threw up. Your opinion piece, "Thug among heroes" is really disappointing. And I'm one who respect your wisdom as only a younger sister can look up to and respect an older brother.
Mr. Roy, you're under the assumption that everyone who's buried in a military cemetery led honorable lives before, during and after their or their family service to the military. That's a terrible mistake and observation to make. Now, you can demand changes, or even have this young man's body dug up and reburied in a paupers' cemetery if it will make you feel better. However, I must warn you to be aware, you may open a Pandora box that will leave the cemetery with a lot of open empty graves. And lest we forget, many of your World War II, Vietnam Veterans, Korean Vets, and all the way back to World War I and even the Civil War came straight from the jails and prisons all across America. In fact in some areas of the country when a young man, and now young woman, is arrested a judge may still offer them the option of joining the military in lieu of going to prison.They are not all choir boys, and now choir girls, Mr. Roy. Plus, a lack of a criminal record doesn't mean an individual has never committed a crime. It just means he/she never got caught or had enough of the right connections to avoid getting caught.
Finally, Mr. Roy, if you want to demand human perfection, first look in the mirror and demand it of yourself. If you can't first find human perfection in your own reflection, you can't find or demand it anywhere else.
If those dead and buried in that cemetery (and I have family buried there too) were true to their belief system and their faith. their spirit (because I truly believe the dead in some way still watch over us and help us in times of need, despair and our own journey after death) will embrace this young man even as you and others reject and scorn him.
On death: "We die ourselves a little every time we kill in others something that deserved to live."--Oscar Hammling
On mercy: Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." --New Testament: Matthew, v, vii. (I've noticed, Mr. Roy, you're quite quick to show mercy no matter the act or action when it's someone you personally know and respect).
Maybe if we stop giving so much power to a word "gang," the word will stop having so much power over us. The word has become such an exploitation of all thins dark,dreaded, feared and hated. Reminds me of those drone planes that drop bombs indiscriminately on anyone and everyone, then label all the male dead "enemy combatants," "al-qaeda" or "Taliban." A male baby in diapers? No difference. And that's the real reason the world is so screwed up at the moment.
My God bless you, this young man (no matter his journey in life) and the world,
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Dear Ms. Washington,
Thank you for your letter. I buried my father at the Chattanooga National Cemetery this year. He enlisted in the manner you describe. You see, he was an orphan. At age 15 three men came to rape his sister. He changed their minds. So the judge gave him a choice: prison or World War 2. He served faithfully in Germany, was shot and later got hit by a hand grenade.
When I went to bury him I was nervous because I thought his criminal record would cause problems. But the Chattanooga National Cemetery explained there were dozens of men like my father interred there. Granted he was a convicted criminal. But, in my opinion, assaulting these three punks with a baseball bat was a righteous act. And I’m proud of him.
Life is complicated. My dad definitely made mistakes. But even though he and other soldiers fell short of the perfection of God, I think it’s important to remember the ideals represented by the Chattanooga National Cemetery rather than the indiscretions that touch the lives of individual soldiers.
* * *
I would like to give a heartfelt welcome from the Bell Family to Brenda Washington for stating her opinion. I am the eldest sister of the late Quincy Bell and Ms. Washington you said the things that I wanted to say. Many times we allow our emotions to take over and we say things that are disrespectful and inappropriate. That is why I pondered over what I wanted to write in response to Mr. Exum's article on last night after reading it. The Lord definitely works in mysterious ways because he revealed to me your article before sending my original response in. So I thank you again because every point you made was extremely valid.
To our family and his children Quincy wasn't a thug or a gang member. He was a son, father, brother, uncle, and a friend too many.
Many times people develop these preconceived notions of a person by what they have heard or seen online. There is always three sides to every story. I didn't write this article to defend my brother's criminal history or affiliation because there is no need to. Quincy is now resting in heaven with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
John 7 24
"Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment."
James 4 11-12
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
* * *
I am appalled by your lack of sensitivity and respect for a grieving family. They did not desire their brother, son and father to be a gangster anymore than you planned on having an infected arm. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control.
I lost my nephew to a drug overdose several years ago. The pain brought me to my knees. I am sorry you do not understand that families love their children in spite of their decisions.
They laid their child to rest, Mr. Exum, and may he rest in peace.
* * *
You sir, though entitled to your opinion, are nonetheless heartless and cruel. I hope you are forgiven by the same God that Mr. Bell's family seeks solace in. I'm sure Mr. Bell's father is just as happy to be near him as yours would be to someday be near you.
I was totally shocked to read that kind of column in any media, print or electronic. Perhaps you should purchase a Bible or read the one you have.