Essays/Opinion

Recent Articles

Community Spirit Restores Ed Worrell Memorial Park Sign

Red River Softwash picture before and after

The Texarkana business Red River Softwash, LLC recently cleaned the Ed Worrell Memorial Park sign and City Beautiful members followed up with painting.  Red River Softwash, as they described it on Facebook, was between jobs when they spotted the need for the sign to be cleaned.  Without contracts and pay, the company stopped, power washed the sign, and went on about business.  The post immediately made the rounds on Facebook for the company’s willingness to give back to the community.  Wendell and Mary Warner, members of the City Beautiful Commission of Texarkana, Arkansas, decided to follow up with the lettering and paint needs on the sign. Surprisingly, Mary said they found that the sign had black
cardboard inserted as letter filling on the sign.  She stated that she and Wendell had to remove
the lettering and it made the 15-minute touch-up job take about an hour, but
they were glad to do it.  Mary said she
assumes the letters have been cardboard since the sign was put up and she has
no idea how they lasted that long.  A
small plaque on the back of the sign states the foundation was put up in 1994,
which would mean at a minimum the cardboard letters have lasted twenty-five
years.  

Wendell Warner painting sign

Mary and Wendell reported on the project at today’s City
Beautiful Commission meeting.  Other members
did not realize that the sign was being addressed and the two were commended
for stepping out and stepping up for the community.  When asked by other members about how hot
it’s been, Wendell responded, “Oh we went in the evening.  There was no way we could do it in the heat
of the day.” 

If you know Mary and Wendell Warner, then you likely know
they have restored homes here in Texarkana and they have a long history of
service.  Mary and Wendell’s service at
the sign is just another example of the spirit of community that shines through
these two amazing people.  If you know
them, take a moment to say thank you for all their hard work.  In truth, you have no idea how many little
projects likes this one they take on all the time behind the scenes. Sign after cleaning and painting

As for Red River Softwash, check out their Facebook page and keep them in mind for all your power washing needs.  They do windows, sidewalks, homes, etc.  If you have a project that needs attention, spend money with someone that invests and donates time back into your community.  Red River Softwash took the time to go above and beyond for our community, and they deserve our business and support as they grow in Texarkana.  See the link below for more information or call them up at 903-276-3990. On Facebook -click here: Red River Softwash LLC. Continue Reading →

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T-Town: Texarkana Town or Trash Town

A recent photo of Bobby Ferguson Park. It seems that the old “T-Town” reference to
Texarkana may mean “Trash Town” for the Arkansas side of town.  If you drive down the north side of Stateline
Cemetery, you cannot help but notice litter along the fence line.  It seems to blow into the fenced area and
become trapped there.  If this was the
only area of town, then it might be a unique issue, but unfortunately for
Texarkana, Arkansas it is not the only area.  

I had been noticing trash around Texarkana, Arkansas for some
time.  Not only was the cemetery area on
Stateline affected, but I was seeing it downtown, along the main streets and
even on less-traveled streets in Texarkana. 
The trash seemed to range from aluminum cans, to drink cups, to plates,
to paper, and even entire bags of household trash at some places.  To further the issue, it seems to be
everywhere.  So I decided to experiment. 

On September 4th, I got into my trusted pickup
truck with my son, and we drove around Texarkana.  We targeted the main roads for the Arkansas
side.  On Stateline, we quickly found
that we could not go even a half a block without seeing trash either on the
road or on the property beside the road. 
I traveled from the Federal Courthouse downtown clear to the Interstate.  I could not find one single block, or half-block
for that matter, where some form of trash was not on the ground.  I then traveled Arkansas Boulevard, and it
was not surprising to find the same level of trash along both sides of the road
there.  For Arkansas Boulevard, I went
from Stateline to the loop access.  For
Jefferson, I traveled from I-30 to Arkansas High, and for County, I moved from
Kline Park to I-30.  Surprisingly, the
results of this little experiment were all the same.  Trash could be found within every single
block of those roads. 

After noting all the places where the trash was located, my
son commented that we could quickly fill up the back of the truck and more with
all the trash.  Sadly, I had to agree
with him.  Apparently “T-Town” now means
“Trash Town” for those of us living on the Arkansas side. 

The question should be, “Who is at fault for this
trash?”  Should the city be cleaning
it up?  Should property owners along the
way clean it?  Should organizations such
as the City Beautiful Commission clean it up? 
Should local church and youth organizations clean it up?  Where should we look for someone to clean it
up? The facts are simple. 
The city does not have the employees to keep the city clean.  Often city employees are mowing vacant or
abandoned lots.  They have assigned areas
to water and care for around the town, and they have several parks to maintain
as well as streets and other duties.  The
fact is the city employees do not have the time or the employees to keep
Texarkana, Arkansas cleaned up. Property owners could be held accountable, but most of the
trash appears to have been dumped on edge, or it has merely blown there with
the wind.  Even if property owners went
out daily and cleaned up the trash, there would be new trash there the next
morning.  I know, I have that problem in
my neighborhood as well. The City Beautiful and other volunteer organizations try to
help make a difference.  However, even
with their help, the fact is they are all volunteers, and many of them have
other full-time jobs and obligations. 
They cannot be the city trash collectors.  Church groups and other volunteer
organizations have the same issues as the city. 
They are often short of volunteers or help, and many times their
volunteers cannot get out in the heat to work. 
To depend on these organizations to clean up the city is not logical. Continue Reading →

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Ruby Tuesday Garden Bar Falls Flat

Ruby Tuesday is usually one of my preferred restaurants in town. I love their food, the atmosphere, the staff, and I love that Garden Bar. You know the Garden Bar, right? It’s that long bar just as you want into the Texarkana Ruby Tuesday location and glance to your right. It has over 50 wonderful garden fresh, their words not mine, items on it. Continue Reading →

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Texarkana Loses a Friend, Ross Perot

Ross Perot at Scout-O-Rama

The Texarkana area lost a famous native son and a friend
this morning with the passing of Ross Perot. 
Long before Perot would gain the spotlight by running for President of
the United States on a third party ticket, he was well known and loved in
Texarkana.  While some grow up in
Texarkana, leave, make it big, and never look back, Perot was not this way with
his success.  Ross Perot always knew his
roots, respected his roots, and held tightly to those roots and those roots
were firmly grounded in Texarkana. 

The Texarkana region came alive on social media around 10
a.m. as news of Perot’s passing spread online. 
The national reports stated that the 89 year old had suffered from Leukemia
and passed away, but here in Perot’s hometown stories, pictures, and memories
were already spreading like wildfire.  People
posted pictures of Perot in his Scout Uniform along with other young men at the
local Scouting events.   Texarkana
College, where Perot was a graduate, immediately sent out urgent notices to the
press and scheduled a special press conference. 
Others talked about how nice the man was, how friendly he was, and how
generous he was to his hometown.  Several
comments were made about how Perot partnered with Texarkana College and helped
pull the college through some difficult financial times.  It seemed like everywhere you looked on
Facebook, Twitter and other outlets, there were positive stories and many “thank
you” messages to Perot. 

The national news has called Perot a “Presidential Candidate,” a “Patriot”, a “Billionaire” a “Boy Scout” a “Businessman,” and dozens of other titles.  They have talked about his two presidential runs, they have commented that he may be the reason Bill Clinton was elected, and they have talked about the company he built.  As I listened to the national news and compared it to the local comments, one thing came shining through in the Texarkana area.   There was one type of comment that seemed to rise above all the national news and reports when it came to Texarkana.  The people in the area did not call him the same fancy titles the national news seemed to cling to, what the rest of the world knew Perot to be, but instead, the overwhelming local comments called Ross Perot a “Friend of Texarkana.”  Here in Texarkana Ross Perot was loved for his devotion to the area, his help with Scouts, his work with Texarkana College, and perhaps most importantly and above all for simply remaining a “Friend” to his hometown long after many others would have left Texarkana behind in the dust of success.  Ross Perot will be a footnote on the world and national stage as history goes, but in Texarkana, he will be an inspiration and lost a friend for generations to come. Continue Reading →

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“Unbelievable Warriors” of June 6, 1944

DDay

D-day survivors are few and far between today as 75 years has
now slowly marched by since the June 6, 1944. 
If you have seen one, then you’ve seen a rare sight that keeps getting rarer
by the day.   Soon, and likely one day
very soon, we will have nothing left of the generation that stormed the beaches
in the name of freedom with a mission to save the world.  They stormed those beaches to stop the
greatest evil the world had ever known.  The
current generation has seen these men as old, feeble, weak, and sometimes
confined to wheelchairs or assisted by walkers. 
Generations today seeing these men have seen the final years as the old
soldiers have been gradually fading away. 
Maybe you’ve looked at a reunion picture, or a picture of a grandparent
and you’ve thought, “How did this old man save the world?  How did this old man break across those
bloody beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944?” 
Well, for one thing, they were not always old and feeble.  Just like you, they were once young, full of
life, laughter, hopes and dreams.  But
those dreams were set aside for the call to arms.  That call would end some lives as young as 17
and 18, give some permanent disabilities, and leave others scared emotionally
and mentally for years to come.  But take
a moment and step back to June 6, 1944, and I’ll share with you how that old
man took those beaches that day…

That old man loaded up his pack, gathered his supplies and
sent what could be his final letters home. 
Perhaps he told a girlfriend of his love, a wife of his devotion, a
mother not to worry, or a father to be proud. 
He wrote out his letters and sent them home.  He loaded up, placed pictures close to his
heart in many cases, and joked nervously with buddies and fellow soldiers as
they prepared.  When the time came to
cross the waters, he may have puked, he may have been sick, he may have cried,
or he may have prayed, but he went forward. 
In the boats as they rocked through the waters, he heard the shells
landing around him, he heard the sound of bullets zipping through the air, and
maybe he saw the glow of tracer bullets guiding the German fire as it tore down
into his friends.  He saw men ripped
apart, he saw friends die, he saw men jump into the water too soon and
disappear beneath the tide as the weight of their gear pulled them down to
death.  As he reached the shore, he worked
his way through the blood soaked sand from men wounded and dead.  He learned quickly that to stay on the beach
was to die, so he moved forward. 

Shells landed around that old man as he made his way across
the beaches.  Friends who had shared cigarettes,
exploded like bombs in front of him, the air was thick with smoke, and the
sound of men screaming.  Some called for
their loved ones and others simply cried out to God.  Still, through it all when that old man
thought he could not go any further, he pushed on toward the goal.  Eventually, through it all, that old man and
his fellow soldiers took the ground, they pushed out the Germans, and they
achieved what nobody had been able to do in that war in Europe  before…they beat back the Germans. The old man who had leaped out of the plane behind the lines floated like a target through the air.  He watched as his friends were shot while still seeking the ground below.  Eventually, he landed and fought the enemy all around.  That old man and his friends then dug in, watched the bullets fly, and fought as best they could with the hope that the beachhead would be taken and friendly troops would come in sight.   

So if you see that rare sight these days of the D-Day soldier or you glance at an old picture of some old man in a hospital bed wearing a D-Day hat, or with the history of having been there on June 6, 1944, do not see him as you see him today.  The man you see today or even in the photographs of recent years, is only the old solider that once was in 1944.  Remember him while he’s here and remember him when he’s gone as what and who he was on that day.  Remember him like the young Marine once said when meeting a group of D-Day warriors many years ago.  They were old, crippled and aged, but the Marine had read their stories, he had heard about how their fellow dead soldiers had fought and he had heard how they pushed on to secure freedom for the world in the grasp of Nazi fear.  The Marine did not see simply a group of old men. When looking at the pictures and hearing the stories, all the Marine could say through misty eyes was, “My God, what unbelievable warriors these men once were.” 

Friends, do not see those of D-Day as old, worn out, or even gone.  No, see those of D-Day as the Marine once saw them, and remember that those “Unbelievable Warriors” set in motion on June 6, 1944, the day that would save the world for you and for me.   
Continue Reading →

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City and County Comes Together…Finally

Texarkana, Arkansas donates fire truck to Miller County

Texarkana, Arkansas donated fire truck for Miller County

For years citizens have been frustrated by the lack of
cooperation and willingness to work together between Miller County, Arkansas
and Texarkana, Arkansas.  Both city
officials and county officials have promised time and again to work together to
help promote a unified area.  Until yesterday,
those promises always seemed to be preached during campaign seasons and soon
forgotten after the elections. 
Fortunately the city and the county now has officials prepared and dedicated
to fulfilling the “work together” promises. 

When Cathy Hardin-Harrison ran for County Judge, one of the
things she promised was to work closer with the city.  Allen Brown had similar visions when he
decided to run for Mayor of Texarkana.  Once
elected, these two did not waste time in looking for ways that both Texarkana
and the county could benefit from working together.  Yesterday citizens of the county and the city
saw some of the fruits of a partnership that may well help push the entire area
ahead. Texarkana, Arkansas was able to donate a fire truck to the
county.  As a result of the donation, the
area of Doddridge will have access to a newer model truck for the needs of
everyone in that area.  Judge Cathy Hardin-Harrison
was on social media yesterday afternoon thanking Mayor Brown, City Manager
Haskins, and Chief Fletcher for the truck. 
The judge noted that this was one example of the county and city working
together. When any two entities start off to work together, it can be
difficult in the beginning; however, both Texarkana, Arkansas and Miller
County, Arkansas, with the leadership of Mayor Brown and Judge Hardin-Harrison,
have proven it can be done.  If this
partnership can continue and thrive, there will be no limit to the potential
jobs, growth, and enhancements that we can see in the city and county.  Naturally, we all know that whenever Bowie,
Miller or either of the two Texarkanas benefit from something, the benefit can
be felt in the entire region.  This
evidence of the promise being kept is certainly a huge positive for our entire
area. Continue Reading →

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Saying Goodbye to Rodney Phillips

Rodney Phillips 1968-2019

Today I said goodbye to a friend of nearly twenty-three
years.   When you’ve known someone for
twenty-three years, it’s not uncommon to see them at their good points of life,
tough points of life and their high points of life.  It’s also not uncommon to really get to know
the person and sometimes to forget that person has other associates, friends,
and family.  Today, I said goodbye to one
such friend, Rodney Phillips. I’m not going to try to recap all of Rodney’s life because
there isn’t enough time to do that.  I
will say that he has touched many people. 
Rodney’s reach was more than apparent at his family visitation when I
saw page after page of signatures in the visitation book.  It was even more evident as I stood just
outside the chapel where standing room only could be found for his funeral
today.  Rodney had a far reach in life,
but rather than recap all of that, the only things I can recap about Rodney is
what I directly know about him.  Rodney
was a son, a husband, a father, a Christian, a hunter, a fisherman, a mason,
and he is my friend.    Rodney lived the
life of a Christian man and a mason until his last day on this earth.  So, rather than focus on his birth,
experience, and death, I’d like to share with you a couple of stories that sum
up who Rodney was and in fact who he still is. 

Rodney was a Christian. 
Rodney not only believed entirely in Christ, but he also had no shame or
fear of speaking about God.  While
speaking is excellent, actions are, and Rodney knew this.  Several times, I saw Rodney act in a
Christian manner.  Recently when some disagreements
broke out over a situation we were both involved in, I turned to Rodney because
I knew he would have a calming answer. 
Not to be underestimated, Rodney had the best solution of all.  He said of the situation, “Well, all I
know is we just need to forgive and let bygones be bygones.  We just need to all get along.”  He did not preach it; he stated it.  That is the type of Christian Rodney is, he
wants to forgive, move on, and continue in harmony.  While that situation is not yet resolved, I
certainly hope those who heard his words, or perhaps those who are reading them
now, will remember that Rodney wanted nothing more than peace and harmony and a
forgiving atmosphere.  I think we can do
that, if not for ourselves, then for Rodney. Rodney is a friend, and real friends are hard to find.  Rodney is not only a friend, but he is also a
true friend.  Rodney was the type of guy
that met no strangers and helped anyone at any time.  Several years ago I was traveling back from
Dallas pulling a trailer when my vehicle broke down.  I called “friend” after friend and received
no help.  I had answers like “I’m already
in for the night,” or “I’ve been drinking,” or “I can not come that far right
now,” etc.  As I went down my list of
numbers, I reached Rodney’s. When I was about to give up, I called Rodney’s number.  His response was simple; he said, “I’m
on my way.  We’ll pull the trailer back
first, and then we’ll get my trailer and get your vehicle.”  When Rodney arrived, I started to hook up the
trailer, and I noticed he was watching and doing little to help hook it
up.  In fact, Rodney was directing me,
something I learned he is very good at doing. 
He seemed tired, and I assumed that he had just woke up and was maybe
still sleepy.  When I said, “Rodney,
are you okay,” his response shocked me. 
Rodney said, “Yeah, man, I’m fine. 
I just had surgery last week, and I’m not supposed to lift anything or
do anything stressful.  So I’m a little
tired.” As we talked, it turned out this was no minor surgery; in
fact, it was major surgery.  I was
humbled and surprised by Rodney’s actions. 
Out of all the people I called for help, Rodney, who had just had major
surgery a week before, was the only one to come to help me.  We hauled the trailer back, picked up his
trailer, and pulled the vehicle back. 
Rodney reluctantly allowed me to put gas in his truck and refused to
take any money for helping.  Even when
Rodney was tired and had more than a good excuse not to help, he never
complained and came to help a friend in need. 
That is what true friendship is and will always be in my mind. 

I never got the opportunity to repay Rodney for his
brotherly love, his Christian attitude, and his friendship.  Through the years, we worked on many projects
together and shared many laughs.  I
always reminded him of the time he came to help me when nobody else could or
would, and I always told him, no matter where I was in life, he could still
call me from anywhere, and I’d help.  When
I would say this to Rodney, he would laugh and say, “I know you’d do the
same for me.”  Well, Rodney, I never
got the chance.  You’ve gone home to
Heaven now.   Someday when I get there,
I’m going to ask God why he needed you home when you had touched so many lives
here on earth.  I’m going to ask God why
I couldn’t have kept my friend, and the friend to many others, for a little
longer here on earth.  I know God will
have his reasons, and I know they will be good ones.  So, in the meantime, Rodney go fishing with
those who have gone before you, say hello to your dad for me,  do some hunting, and enjoy Heaven.  Oh, and if you decide to send a message this
way, I want to know how the steaks taste in Heaven and if you’re cooking them. Continue Reading →

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Fishing Memories

It’s fishing time again! 
I know there are people thinking, “It’s always fishing time,” but for me
fishing time starts after winter and ends about the time my teeth stop
chattering from the cold.  In simple
terms, I fish in the Spring until the end of fall.  I’m what you call a leisure fishing guy.  I’m not so serious about fishing that I have
a five hundred dollar rod and reel, but I also enjoy the use of good equipment.  I enjoy fishing equipment so much, that once
I have the basic stuff together, I rarely buy new.    This
year as the fishing season kicked off for me my favorite reel from 1989 (A
Zebco Rhino) broke.  After thirty years,
the reel finally gave up.  I trudged off
to the store to get a new one and while I was there I decided it was time to
invest in a new tackle box as well.  This
was not an easy decision for me.   As old
as that reel was, my Plano 6300N is actually older.  The box dates back nearly forty years
ago.  I decided it was time for a new
tackle box to go hand-in-hand with the new rod and reel.   As a blessed man that I am, my wife stood
nearby encouraging me to get the best tackle box I wanted and planned to use
for the next several years. I was happy to find that Plano still makes their tackle
boxes in the USA.  I was also happy to
find a wide variety of new models.  I
selected one, purchased it and the rod/reel and headed home.  In a few days I sat down to move over the
tackle I wanted to continue to use, store away old lures like my grandfather’s
and others from my childhood, and get the new Plano ready for action.  It was then that I began my walk down a
“fishing” memory lane with that old box.   

While I fully intend to use the new tackle box, I did not
realize how hard it would be to actually move stuff from the old box to the new
one.  Naturally, the act of moving it was
easy, but the symbolic aspect of the move was deep in my mind and history.  As I looked at the old tackle box a flood of
memories came rushing back to me.  I
remembered the first time I got the box at a Walmart that closed at eight
o’clock when Walmart was still two words. 
I remembered the special offer inside the box!  I could send away for a nameplate for my new
tackle box and I did.  I remembered the
day it arrived and how I proudly stuck it on the indented spot for nameplates
on the top of the box. 

As more memories washed in, I had to smile.  As proud of that nameplate as I was back
then, I can also remember the day it finally fell off and I lost it.  I could remember the day I got a scuff on the
box next to a fishing pond.  In fact each
scuff, scratch, and mark had a memory attached to it.    The
old box is faded now, and I could remember all the days it sat out beside me in
the sun.  I could remember other scuffs
from carrying the box on my bike, hauling it in the back of my grandfather’s
old Ford, and even a time or two I dropped it a little too hard near the
fishing spots.  I could remember hauling
it on boats, to lakes, rivers, and streams. 
I could remember each time my grandfather gave me a lure to place in the
box – I was and still am very proud of those old fishing lures.  I could remember each time I pulled the fish
stringer out for that perfect fish, and each time the line snapped, and I had
to dig into the old box for more tackle. 
I could remember using it all through school and then taking it with me
to college.  As nearly forty years of
fishing memories ran freely through my mind, I closed the box with many of the
old lures still in place. 

I placed both the boxes back in storage – one ready to go,
and one ready to tug at my memories forever-and decided to look to see if my
old Plano 6300N was still around.  A
quick search on E-bay found dozens of them ranging from $10 to about $30.   They are now called “vintage” and “Old”
tackle boxes.   Many of them are marked with the same type of
memory marks of scuffs and scratches as mine, and others looked as if they had
sat up on a shelf with no use at all.  I
found myself feeling sorry for the ones that appeared to not be used, and then
I was sorry for the ones being sold.  The
ones that appeared not to be used, missed a lifetime of fun and fishing.  As for the ones with the memories, it was sad
that someone’s fishing memories had been posted on eBay at a rate of between $10
to $30. 

I decided long ago I would not sell my Plano box.  In fact, I think I may have decided not to
ever sell it after the first fishing trip with it.    Somewhere down the line my children may
decide to sell the box and that will be okay, because it will not hold the
memories for them that it does for me. 
Maybe…just maybe if I’m lucky though…this new Plano box will become
theirs and will hold memories for them. 
Who knows, in another thirty or forty years, one of my children may be
looking back with fond memories at the Plano box that replaced my old 6300N
today. Continue Reading →

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Destroying History

From Facebook Post

George Orwell once predicted that “The most effective way to
destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their
history.”   It might be thought that Orwell
could see into the future with his book 1984 and other predictions he seemed to
make.  These predictions did not unfold
though in 1984, they are unfolding now. 
It appears that there are those in society, especially in positions of
authority with the government, set on denying and obliterating our
understanding of history.  These groups
first targeted schools, and then national monuments, but they met more resistance
with national monuments than they did with school.  Once they ran into that blocked doorway of resistance,
they opted for the next best thing…obliterate recent history that few people
will be overly concerned about. 
Obliterate first Confederate history and that will open the doorway for
a firm assault on U.S. History. Dallas has again jumped onboard with a desire to deny
history, and their target this time is a statue in a cemetery – yes, you read
that right, a cemetery where we bury our dead to remember them.   You
may remember that a year or two ago as Confederate Statue Hysteria rose, many
city governments said that the statues belonged in museums or in cemeteries.  Well, Dallas targeted first Lee Park and successfully
removed the statues there despite overwhelming opposition from the public.  With that step done, they are now moving to cemeteries
– “But Wait,” you say!  They said these
statues should be in the cemeteries, right? 
Well, you were told they would not put the statues in museums – remember
those in New Orleans?  They are still sitting
in a city yard.  The statues from Lee
Park?  Still in storage.  Now, they are targeting Pioneer Cemetery and
the Confederate Statue that will cost the people of Dallas over $400,000 to
remove.  You know there must be a need
for immediate and fast removal!  After
all this statue has stood on the same location since 1896 or 122 years.  Further, consider what was originally said
about these statues – they are in public view and should be in museums or cemeteries
to remain out of the general public view. 
At that time, many people warned that these governments would not stop
with the public view, but that they would also focus on cemeteries and deny the
statues a place in museums.  The same
people who warned of the cemetery assault also told us that attacks on the
founding fathers would be next. Now, you may not believe that these groups will target the
founding fathers, but consider this – the last Confederate veteran died in the
1950s.  Prior to that, the only honor
that he had for fighting in a war came from his friends, family, the Union
army, and the communities.  Since there
was no country, and they did not have veteran status at the time, the statues
were erected around the country to honor them. 
They were erected, as almost all documentation indicates, to promote
healing, unity, and to honor the people who lived through the Civil War on the
Confederacy side.  In the late 1950s,
Congress made all Confederate Veterans, American Veterans.  This now means that the government will place
cemetery markers for those veterans, and that they are just as honored as
veterans of the United States.   With the
consideration that the Confederate Veterans are American Veterans, then it is conceivable
to view statues in their honor no different than those honoring Vietnam, Korean,
World War I or World War II veterans and so on. 
However, over 100 years later none of the original daughters or sons of
those Confederate Veterans are alive. 
There are small groups of decedents around the United States who honor,
assemble, and remember as well as study the history.  But the core group who supported and erected these
statues are long gone.  Since they were
not “National” statues, they are generally not afforded the protections of a National
Park or a National Monument after the late 1950s.  The fact that they have a small direct defense
base with no federal backing makes them the easy target.   The
goal is simple -remove the Confederate statues from public places, including cemeteries,
lie about it if you have to – remember they wanted some of the statues moved to
cemeteries, but they have not, and they have not put them in museums either-  get them out of sight and then set the goal on
others such as founding fathers.  The
target will shift to national statues once these groups have forced the nation
to accept the removal of the Confederate statues.  Once people are complacent and have accepted
that the city government can and will simply remove statues at their own
desire, then when it comes time to target Washington, Jefferson, and others, it
will be easy.  We will have grown to
expect monuments and statues of and about our history to be taken down. 

Ultimately it does not matter whether you like the
Confederate Statues or not.  It really
doesn’t matter what your understanding of Confederate history is as far as that
goes as well.  The fact is, the
Confederate Statues are a part of our national history.  They were put up in the south, north, east
and west to honor and help healing.  No
matter what anyone tells you or dreams up about them being put up to harass or
cause fear in people, the actual history from the period does not support this –
Even if you believe the history does support that these statues were put up to
scare people, then you have to explain exactly who was being scared by a
Confederate Statue in Pioneer Cemetery? 
Did the Daughters of the Confederacy have some great master plan that
would scare away people by posting these statues in graveyards?  Was their target the ghost of other people?   It
simply not likely.  The fact is, the
period of time when these statues were put up is collectively known as the “Cult
of the Confederacy”.   It is a period of
healing, honor and remembrance.  In many
cases, it gave the only grave markers known for some soldiers who died in the
war.   It was a way to promote unity in the United
States and Presidents, Congressional members, and others all supported and even
attended the dedications for many of these monuments and statues. Continue Reading →

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Black History Month and Texarkana

Warning – the essay below contains situations and history that may not be appropriate for all readers. As we come to a close in February, most of the Black History
Month events in Texarkana will be winding down. 
Celebrations of great African-American contributions to our nation,
state, county and to the city of Texarkana will come to a close.  Many people will have learned about names
like Scott Joplin, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Little Rock Nine, William
Still, and others.  The list of African-Americans
making an impact is long, but there is also some names you will not hear
mentioned.  Maybe you will not hear them
mentioned but they are names like John Carter, Edward Coy, and Bud Hayden.  These names may be left out of Black History
Month Celebrations, at least publicly, because as politically correct goes,
their names can and often do make people feel uncomfortable.  See, the names John Carter, Edward Coy, and
Bud Hayden are three of the famous African American names from Arkansas because
they are three of the most famous cases of lynching in the state.  In fact, two of them, Edward Coy and Bud
Hayden, were lynched right here in Texarkana, Arkansas. 

The two men were lynched in Texarkana, Arkansas a little
over six years apart.  Edward Coy was
lynched in February 1892, in a moment of history that shocked people across the
nation and headlined newspapers from Little Rock to New York.  Perhaps even more shocking is that Mr. Coy’s
lynching was elevated to being burned alive at a stake.    Mr. Coy was accused of assaulting a white
woman in town.  Once Coy was captured, a
mob decided he was guilty, tied him to a tree, cut his skin, poured coal oil on
him and then had his alleged victim light him on fire.  Mr. Coy’s lynching, with no trial, no judge,
no jury, is perhaps one of the most brutal lynching’s in this despicable part
of our history.  By any standards, today’s
or those of 1892, Mr. Coy was outright murdered.  Roughly 1,000 people stood by and watched.  It was rumored that Mr. Coy and his alleged
victim had been seeing each other.  It
was further reported that before the woman set him on fire, Mr. Coy pleaded with
her asking how she could burn him when they had been “sweethearting.”   Mr. Coy died near Iron Mountain Roadhouse by
some accounts.  Other accounts place the murder
on Broad Street in Texarkana, Arkansas. 

In June of 1898, downtown Texarkana, Arkansas again became
the site of a lynching.  This time Bud
Hayden was accused of assaulting a twelve year old girl.  The girl identified Mr. Hayden as the man who
assaulted her, and this would result in his death.  There was no trial, no jury, no judge again
in this case.  Articles from the time
period do point out that Mr. Hayden did have the benefit of several citizens
speaking about the event.  Naturally,
their speeches were made while Mr. Hayden had a rope around his neck and was
being prepared to hang, and most were made in favor of lynching Mr. Hayden.   Statements from the time said they “adjusted
the rope so it would not choke him and ran to a tree near Iron Mountain
Railroad crossing.”  Once again, the
incident is nothing short of murder.  Mr.
Hayden was hung and shot several times.   

It should be noted that both of these lynching’s occurred with
what newspaper articles of the time called “Over 1,000 people” in attendance.  Since the 1890 census placed the population
of Texarkana at 3,528 and the 1900 census placed the population at 4,914, it
would be safe to guess that the likely population at the time of the their deaths
was around 4,000.  If over 1,000 people
attended the lynching’s, then this meant that roughly a quarter of the
population stood by, contributed or condoned, and watched as two men were
murdered without a judge, jury, or trial. 
Even the laws on the books at the time would not have supported hanging
or a death sentence for assault of an adult or a child, but yet the people of
the Texarkana area stood by and watched. 

The lynching of Edward Coy and Bud Hayden is a shameful,
horrible, and pathetic moment in the history of Texarkana, Arkansas.  Maybe that shame and horror is the reason few
people hear the names today of Edward Coy and Bud Hayden.  Maybe it’s easier for us as the current
residents of Texarkana, Arkansas to look the other way and praise the African American
contributions to society by the greats like Scott Joplin and Dr. King.  Maybe, praising men and women for their great
contributions makes us feel a little better, eases our minds and allows us to
forget men like Edward Coy and Bud Hayden. 

I have traveled up and down Broad street.  I have looked around the railroad areas and I
have found no mention, no plaque, no sign, no statue…nothing at all to indicate
that Edward Coy and Bud Hayden were lynched in those areas.  I have to stop and wonder what if Mr. Coy or
Mr. Hayden had been the next Scott Joplin, or the next Dr. King, or the next
William Still?  What if they were
destined to make an impact, make a difference, or become “somebody”?  Well, we will never know that answer, and the
reason we will not know the answer is because they were lynched right here in
Texarkana, Arkansas.  Yes, maybe a
plaque, or a statue or a memorial of some sort would be uncomfortable for our
community, but you know what?  I bet that
Mr. Coy and Mr. Hayden were far more uncomfortable and terrified as they faced
the last few minutes of their lives in the hands of an angry mob that operated
freely outside the law.  A statue, plaque
or memorial would certainly be uncomfortable for our little town, but maybe we
need to be reminded not only of the great African Americans, but also of the African
Americans who were so horribly wronged during this period of our history here
in Texarkana. Continue Reading →

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