Apr 28, 2015

The "Greatest Generation" Has Left Us ...To Our Devices And Vices

Common Sense Commentary: Our own Loren Fink is not the last of the "Greatest Generation", but he was one of a very, very few of them left alive into 2015. Another of the those few remaining of that Great Generation, who has also just left us, is Van Barfoot, the war hero of "flagpole fame".  We have lost most of the integrity of their times, the work ethic, faith, patriotism, courage and dozens of other attributes which were the foundation of America's success in the past. It is a sad day indeed, in a deteriorating nation which led the world for over a century. There were some marvelous pictures of Barefoot, his medals and his home and flag pole, but my blog won't usually print pictures and didn't in this case. I get a lot of good stories, like this, with pictures but have to by-pass them. Anyway, it is a great story of a real American Patriot and War Hero.  RB

Van T. Barfoot, American Patriot and War Hero Has Died

Remember the guy who wouldn't take the flag pole down on his Virginia property a while back? You might remember the news story several months ago about a crotchety old man in Virginia who defied his local Homeowners Association, and refused to take down the flag pole on his property along with the large American flag he flew on it. Now we learn who that old man was. On June 15, 1919, Van T. Barfoot was born in Edinburg , Mississippi . That probably didn't make news back then.

But twenty-five years later, on May 23, 1944, near Carano , Italy , that same Van T. Barfoot, who had in 1940 enlisted in the U.S. Army, set out alone to flank German machine gun positions from which gunfire was raining down on his fellow soldiers. His advance took him through a minefield but having done so, he proceeded to single-handedly take out three enemy machine gun positions, returning with 17 prisoners of war.

And if that weren't enough for a day's work, he later took on and destroyed three German tanks sent to retake the machine gun positions.

That probably didn't make much news either, given the scope of the war, but it did earn Van T. Barfoot, who retired as a Colonel after also serving in Korea and Vietnam , a well deserved Congressional Medal of Honor.

What did make news...Was his Neighborhood Association's quibble with how the 90-year-old veteran chose to fly the American flag outside his suburban Virginia home. Seems the HOA rules said it was OK to fly a flag on a house-mounted bracket, but, for decorum, items such as Barfoot's 21-foot flagpole were "unsuitable".

Van Barfoot had been denied a permit for the pole, but erected it anyway and was facing court action unless he agreed to take it down.

Then the HOA story made national TV, and the Neighborhood Association rethought its position and agreed to indulge this aging hero who dwelt among them.

"In the time I have left", he said to the Associated Press, "I plan to continue to fly the American flag without interference."  As well he should.

And if any of his neighbors had taken a notion to contest him further, they might have done well to read his Medal of Honor citation first. Seems it indicates Mr. Van Barfoot wasn't particularly good at backing down.


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