Sunday, April 18, 2010

Proud to Be a Corinth Warrior!!

Youth and arrogance have a propensity to blind us to what really matters. When I first went to the Naval Academy in 1965, I was ever so glad to put Corinth MS and the "provincial life" behind. Unfortunately, my Mississippi accent quickly earned me the nickname of "Missip" and also earned a lot of assumptions about me based on where I came from. That fact nothwithstanding, I was proud to now be swimming in a "bigger pond" than I had come from. I was pretty vocal about how I felt about Corinth... which in the summer of '66 led Donna Stewart to throw a coke in my face when I made a snotty comment about the "small pond of Corinth". (Donna, if you read this, I certainly deserved it! ) Fast forward through a lifetime of 45 years, and I now realize that in the word's of Bob Dylan's song My Back Pages "...I was so much older then, I'm younger that now."

In the past year or so, Facebook has allowed me glimpses into the lives of my former classmates and friends at Corinth High School. It's obvious that many of them have been extremely successful by the world's standards. However, what stands out to me are the values and relationships that seem to guide and inform their lives. Thinking back I realize that my values were formed in the "small pond" community of Corinth MS and that I was truly blessed to grow up there. We have a young female civil engineer in my office here in Nashville to whom I was very quickly drawn because of her outgoing personality... and her accent that would make Corinth natives proud. She is a giving person and very involved in her church and in community service with Habitat for Humanity. In the course of getting to know her, I discovered that she went to CHS... a long time after I did. I wasn't seems that they are still pouring good things into the students!

All this to lead up to the fact that I have never been as proud to be from Corinth, Alcorn County, Northeast Mississippi than I was when I returned home in March for the funeral of my nephew who was killed in Afghanistan. The outpouring of love, respect, and honor that was afforded my sister's son SSGT William Ricketts on his return was nothing short of amazing. From the time his body arrived at Corinth Airport until his internment at Corinth National Cemetery, the communities of Alcorn County celebrated a life well lived and mourned a hero's life cut short. As a family member, I was awed and humbled by the 100's of people who came to the funeral home for the viewing, the 100's of people who attended the funeral in the Crossroads Arena, and the 100's of people who lined the route from the arena to the National Cemetery. It seemed as if everyone in town was there including employees from some stores along the way such as Lowe's who allowed their employees to line the road for the procession.

Seth Ricketts was a genuine hero... an example of the best that of Alcorn County MS has to offer. My home town is a community that still produces wonderful people, a community that values honor and patriotism, and a community that I am proud to say is where I grew up.

P.S.- The April 12 Time magazine had a respectful piece on Seth's homecoming that you might find interesting. :-) lph

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