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Wednesday, July 04, 2012
A thirty year anniversary celebration
By William Kirkendale
It was 30 years ago almost to the day in 1982 when I ran into this travesty of justice and unconscionable absurdity in the great state of Arizona..Phoenix Arizona to be exact...
In the early eighties when Ronald Reagan was president the city of Phoenix had the brilliant idea of rounding up homeless people and throwing them in jail so president Reagan wouldn't see them when he visited his wife's relatives who lived near the Arizona Biltmore hotel.
Well one night as fate and providence would have it the phoenix police picked up a homeless WW II veteran for sleeping in his car and threw him in Jail. As luck or extreme misfortune would have it I was also thrown in jail this night for mouthing off to a police officer about leaving my three year old daughter on the curb after arresting my wife for an old traffic ticket she didn't pay...I guess you could say I was pretty livid about this..
Anyway I was escorted off to jail and put in the same cell as this homeless war veteran whose name I found out was Bruce Brown. I also found out he was the most decorated soldier in WW II from the state of Florida .. And he had all the scars, broken bones and wounds to prove it .
Well when I heard this I told Him I would bail him out in the morning, get him some clothes and give him enough money to return to his mother in Tennessee. Yes he was about 60 years old and still lived with his mother because he couldn't quite cut it in civilian life on his own... And besides that because of all his injuries he simply couldn't get around and had a serious drinking problem to boot.
True to my word The next morning I did bail him out and sent him on his way back to Tennessee. I also gave him my business card and told him if he ever Needed anything to call me.
About six months went by when one day he called me to thank me and tell me how well he was doing. This was to begin a life long friendship and real plus in my life knowing that I could pay this Great war hero back and show my appreciation for all his sacrifices for our freedoms.
This friendship lasted for ten more years where anything He Needed I moved heaven and earth to make sure he got. He had a little house his mother gave him and I sent him just about everything he needed to furnish and enjoy it. .
Finally one day in 1992 he Died . When I Got a call from his mother telling me of his passing she told me that on his death bed he told her to tell me I was the Best friend he ever had. I've often thought that he had that completely backwards. The truth is that he was the best friend I ever had or in fact our country ever had..To this day we are all free because of people like him. He certainly didn't belong in jail because he was homeless, disabled and had to sleep in his car.. That's not how we should treat a distinguished and highly decorated war Hero. Thank you Bruce...America loves you...
July 4th 2012