Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day

911 Memorial

Memorial Day is a day for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. I have been fortunate enough to not have any close family members who died in the service of their country.  But as I think about how wartime affected some family members who served and how sad their lives ended, I have come to realize what they sacrificed to serve their country.

One of my ancestors who served his country is my great great great great grandfather, James Vowels.

According to a document that I found, James Vowels was a soldier in the Army of the Revolution.  James was born in Virginia in 1738. He enlisted in 1776 under Captain George Slaughter of the 8th Virginia Regiment.  He fought in the Battles of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, Germantown on October 4, 1777, and several others.  He wintered with his regiment at Valley Forge and served out the time of his enlistment faithfully.

When his enlistment was up, he came home to Virginia and married Anne Fields in April 1781.  After the wedding he again joined the Army and was at the siege of Yorktown.  After the surrender of Cornwallis on October 19 1781, he returned home to Culpepper County Virginia where he lived until his death on April 17, 1815.

My great great great great grandfather was a part of some of the most important events in American history.  He experienced the hardships of Valley Forge.  He was part of the Army that forced the English General Cornwallis to surrender and end the war.  He helped America gain its independence.  He was a true patriot.  I’m proud to be a descendant of James Vowels.

Even though James Vowels didn't give his life for his country, he served valiantly and did more than he was asked to do.  After the hardships he had gone through, I find it amazing that he left his new bride and re-enlisted in the army.  He was a man who definitely believed in what he was fighting for.

A local hero that we remember on Memorial Day is Herbert A. Littleton.

Littleton was a United States Marine who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for falling on a grenade during the Korean War.

He was born on July 1, 1930, in Mena, Arkansas. He enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve on July 29, 1948, for a one-year term. After the outbreak of the Korean War, Littleton reenlisted in the Marine Corps. He went to Korea with the 3rd Replacement Draft, fighting in South and Central Korean operations from December 17, 1950, until his death.

Littleton earned the nation's highest award for valor on April 22, 1951, at Chungehon. At the time he was serving as a Radio Operator with the First Marine Division. Littleton was standing watch when a large well-concealed enemy force launched a night attack from nearby positions against his company. PFC Littleton quickly alerted the forward observation team and immediately moved into position to assist in calling down artillery fire on the enemy force. When an enemy hand grenade was thrown into his vantage point shortly after the arrival of the remainder of the team, he threw himself on the grenade, absorbing its full impact with his own body. By his prompt action he saved the other members of his team from serious injury or death and enabled them to repulse the enemy attack. For his valor in the face of certain death Herbert A. Littleton was awarded the Medal of Honor.

At the Polk County Courthouse here in Mena, Arkansas there is a Polk County War Memorial that honors the fallen.  The names of the Polk County citizens who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country are engraved on it.

Here are the names as they are engraved on the Memorial.

On this Memorial Day, I will remember the men and women, such as Herbert A. Littleton and all the rest of those whose names are engraved on the Polk County War Memorial, who died while serving their country and I will also remember my great great great great grandfather, James Vowels, and the multitude of other men and women who have sacrificed so much serving their county.  Thank You to our men and women who served, are serving, and especially those who sacrificed their lives.

Vicksburg 911 Memorial

Friday, May 8, 2020


Ever since this quarantine started, my social media feeds have filled with endless stories and videos about COVID-19. Such things as:

If you blow your hairdryer up your nose it kills the virus and you can’t get sick.
The virus isn’t really much of a threat—some physicians from Bakersfield say that it’s all a political scheme.
All you need is trust in Jesus, according to a German physician, because that redirects your body’s electricity and fights off germs.
The virus is a conspiracy, a “plandemic” invented for some sinister political reason. Really all you have to do is drink tonic water.
Hospitals that report having COVID-19 cases have none.
COVID-19 is spread by 5G networks.
Dr. Anthony Fauci knew in 2005 that hydroxychloroquine was effective against human coronaviruses.
COVID-19 is part of a dastardly Gates-led plot to vaccinate the world’s population.
Alex Jones says COVID-19 doesn't actually exist.
Alex Jones and Jim Bakker sell colloidal-silver as a COVID-19 cure.
A “deep state” of America’s elite is plotting to undermine the president, and Dr. Anthony Fauci is a secret member.
COVID-19 deaths are highly inflated.
Vitamins and other products that Dr. Mercola sells can cure COVID-19.
It's no worse than the flu.
Flu shots contained COVID-19.
A Papaya tested positive for COVID-19.
COVID-19 was a false flag hysteria to change the outcome of this year's election.
Vaccines and COVID-19 are the biggest lies in history.
Boris Johnson is not in the hospital, or even ill.
…and so many more.

Most of these appear to have a clear political or personal agenda, and are completely debunked elsewhere, although those who repost the conspiracies won’t believe any evidence against them.

If you tell them about the Snopes refutation of the hair dryer cure. They reply that Snopes is a liberal conspiracy. If you show them the science refuting the claims of the Bakersfield doctors: they say you’ve been deceived by the lamestream media. If you show them evidence that Judy Mikovitz is a bonafide nutcase. They say you’re a nutcase if you don’t believe in her.

What’s a sensible person to do? There’s a quote attributed to Mark Twain that says “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they’ve been fooled.” My experience has been that once people make up their minds to believe a hoax or a conspiracy, it is almost impossible to convince them otherwise.

Hoaxes and conspiracies and crackpot ideas generally are a hazard for Christians. Because we accept God’s existence by faith, many assume that anything they believe in must be true.

I have to accept that I'm not going to convince these folks with evidence. There is a story in Matthew 17 about a boy with epilepsy. When Jesus and his followers came back to the crowd, a man came to Jesus and bowed before him. The man said, "Lord, have mercy on my son. He has epilepsy and is suffering very much, because he often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your followers, but they could not cure him." Jesus commanded the demon inside the boy. Then the demon came out, and the boy was healed from that time on.

The followers came to Jesus when he was alone and asked,''Why couldn’t we force the demon out?"

Jesus answered, “Because your faith is too small. I tell you the truth, if your faith is as big as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. All things will be possible for you. That kind of spirit comes out only if you use prayer and fasting.”

When it comes to refuting conspiracy theories, That spirit can only be changed by prayer.