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-*'-, TtfE SALINA JOURNAL OP-ED SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 1997 * T eONTRIBUTING EDITOR t least one veteran is weary of war memorials rfle Vietnam Memorial ill should have been final war memorial I any years ago I was asked by my 91st Division Association to direct I the building of a Jnument in the small fcn of Loiano, Italy, to far the soldiers and civil- i who died in the Italian ftpaign of World War II. 91st already has a rid War I monument at : Lewis, Washington. L Italian friend living in snce asked a sculptor to 'ithe work. This took a • or so, and then it came i for me to write the in- Iption to be placed on the iument. I'd read some of * ^inscriptions on various memorials and many used rather idiloquent words and phrases, "covered iselves with glory," "shattered the pieman defenses," "sacred," "honor" and jf sacrifice." ••^s a former rifleman, I wasn't anxious to use any of these and thought a short, honest phrase would do, so I wrote: "To the veterans of the 91st Infantry Divi- 'sion, United States of America, and to the people of Loiano, who shared a common bond during that terrible autumn of 1944." Brief enough, and to the point. Over the ROY LIVENGOOD For The Salina Journal years, the Italians have reacted beautifully and have maintained the memorial with the utmost respect and dignity. Today we seem to be in a frenzy of building war memorials. The Marine Corps and the Air Force are squabbling about a proposed monument to the latter. The Corps probably thinks the wild blue yonder monument will take some of the luster off its Iwo Jima monument. There are plans for a multi-million dollar World War II monument and there's a squabble about where it's to be located. There's to be a monument to all women who served, and a monument to President Franklin Roosevelt was dedicated recently. There was a squabble about that one, too, about not showing the president's leg braces and wheel chair. There's also talk about a coming memorial to that most unnecessary of wars, our Persian Gulf adventure. If monuments have to be built, God knows there ought to be one for those who served in the Second World War. What would have happened if those men had failed in their tasks hardly bears thinking about. But a multi-million dollar job? Why build on such a grand scale? Perhaps we could use the Marine memorial to symbolize that war. Or is that giving the Marines too much credit? Should there be monuments to the infantry, the artillery, the engineers, etc.? There are some veterans who question the wisdom of spending vast amounts of money on monuments of cold marble. Many Many veterans feel the money would be better spent on children's hospitals. feel the money would be better spent on children's hospitals, the handicapped, hospital equipment, the poor, etc., and some division associations have done just that. As a veteran, I'm becoming a bit weary of war memorials. My two great-grandfathers have their memorials in both the North and the South. My father has his on the brooding fields of Flanders. I have mine in the mountains of Italy. My kid brother, who was an infantryman in Korea, now haS»his monument, and my nephew, who fought in Vietnam, has his in the sad, black wall in Washington. It's disheartening to see some of the memorials that were erected in France and Italy during the 1920s to honor the young men who were killed in the carnage that was the war to end all wars, and it's especially disheartening to remember that a mere 20 years later men were again killing each other in a much wider war. The memorials are a varied lot and many have statues of angels hovering over the dead. In the cemetery at Redipuglia, there's one showing a dying Italian soldier resting in the arms of Christ. There's also a contemporary postcard showing the French marching toward heaven, with Christ pointing the way, and the Germans, led by the Grim Reaper, marching the other way, down to hell. Another card, drawn by the Bavarian wartime Volunteer Nurses Association, depicts Christ at the tomb of a fallen German. War, and the sanctification of it, has long been a topic for historians, and since World War II we've read how the Nazis used the glorified notion of war and how that led to the cataclysmic years of 1939-1945. The Vietnam Memorial should have been our final war memorial. It has no patriotic messages, no angels, no religious figures, just 58,000 names of young men who died in a useless cause. Small wonder so many tears are shed by the people who visit the site. In New York City's Times Square there's a large statue of Father Francis Duffy, the famous chaplain who served with New York's Fighting 69th Regiment in World War I. When I visited the place last year the pigeons were roosting on Duffy's head and shoulders and bird droppings were on his leggings and boots. The good Father looked like anything but a war hero. By the way, the Italian sculptor charged our association one million lire for his work. In those days that equaled 800 U.S. dollars. A bargain, I'd say. • Roy Livengood, Salina, is editor of the 91st Division Association's Powder River Journal and a member of the Salina Journal Board of Contributing Editors. LETTERS P.O. Box 740, Salina, KS 674O2 Student press must be kept in check I am responding to your Oct. 2 opinion, "Learn by doing," which addressed the freedom of the j student press alongside the "prior review policy" now in place at Great Bend High School, for the student newspaper. I agree a high school newspaper needs to be a learning experience, but it must be supervised by adult educators who have the right to establish procedures and standards to regulate the times, places, and manner of distribution of student publications. Such policy must be reasonable and related to the prevention of disruption in the learning environment. It would appear to me the right to direct a learning environment has been invoked By administrators in Great Bend, I nothing more and nothing less. 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