Know Your Medal of Honor Recipients:
Corporal George W. Thompkins (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on March 25, 1865, at Petersburg, Virginia. His citation reads:
Capture of flag of 49th Alabama Infantry (C.S.A.) from an officer who, with colors in hand, was rallying his men.
Private William H. Thompkins (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on June 30, 1898, at Tayabacoa, Cuba. His citation reads:
Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated.
Private Allen Thompson (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on April 1, 1865, at White Oak Road, Virginia. His citation reads:
Made a hazardous reconnaissance through timber and slashings preceding the Union line of battle, signaling the troops and leading them through the obstruction.
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I’ve posted this in the past on September 11ths… I will post it again today because my memory of the day has not changed. So, let’s take a walk down memory lane…
Today marks the anniversary of the day the terrorists attacked the USA. I would think the History Channel will be focused on this event as it has been in previous years (after all, it is the History Channel). I remember it like it just happened. I was about a month into my second senior year at Winthrop University, living in an apartment at Mallard Point with Jeremy and Thomas. I got up and headed to my Tuesday morning class, just like always. Back then, I would usually listen to John Boy & Billy on the radio as I headed to class but on this day I was listening to a Bon Jovi CD (on one of those portable CD players that you had to connect to the car via a cassette tape that had a wire running from it to the CD player). I got to my class (a Business Writing class) and sat down. A couple minutes later a guy in our class walks in and says that he heard that two planes collided in New York City around the World Trade Center. It seemed, at the time, like it was two small planes... and while it was sad to hear, it wasn’t earth shattering news. After class I was walking out to meet/hangout with The Girlfriend. I had a break between my first class and my afternoon class (with The Girlfriend) so I liked to have lunch with her on those days. Rumors were starting to pick up about what was going on, so we headed back to her place for lunch (which I don’t think we ever ate that day) and to watch the news. We sat and watched as smoke poured out of the windows of the towers. By then, I believe, one of the towers had already fallen. As we were watching the news live, the second tower came down. At first, I thought maybe they were showing a replay of the first one... but then I realized it was the second one. I must admit to being a bit naïve that day because I was thinking at the time well surely everyone had evacuated from the building by then. Have you ever tried walking down 80 flights of stairs (or even 30 flights, for that matter)? Me either. It did hit, pretty quick, that even if everyone else had gotten out... there were still all the firefighters/policemen/EMS people who had been running in. I remember we sat there kind of stunned just watching TV. I remember having this numb feeling for a while (days/weeks?) after that and just wanting to sit and watch the news. We finally had to get up and go to our afternoon class because Winthrop (at least back then) wouldn’t cancel a class for anything. I remember just going through the motions in my afternoon classes... waiting for a chance to get back in front of the TV to watch the news. Back then I was working as a Manager Trainee at Rack Room Shoes in Carolina Place Mall (in Pineville, NC). I was scheduled to work that night, but I got a call from Peggy (my boss) telling me not to worry about coming in. She said she was pretty sure they were going to close the mall early, but even if they didn’t, nobody was there. Because of my class schedule, I worked almost every night and most of the time on the weekends... so this gave me a rare night off to spend with The Girlfriend. We went to Ryan’s for dinner. Her dad called me on my cell phone because he hadn’t been able to reach her. I remember this was perhaps the longest period of time in my life when I just didn’t feel like laughing. I remember walking around campus and noticing how quiet it was. Winthrop is close enough to Charlotte that there are almost always planes in the sky... but not that day. Even the roads were light... it seemed everyone was staying home watching TV. I think the mall was closed for a couple of days (though I could be mistaken). I do remember going back to work and the place being like a ghost town for the first week or two. I mean, there was NOBODY in the mall. NOBODY. Nobody shopping. Nobody “just looking”. Nobody out walking around. Even the shoplifters were staying home. It was very strange. I remember me, Peggy, and Maureen (my friend from Long Island who was a part-time worker at our store, who has since passed away) would just stand there and talk. Every now and then we’d walk around the store and clean/straighten up... but with no customers there wasn’t much to clean. I do remember standing in the back corner of the store straightening up some shoe boxes when I heard “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (Leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again) being played and thinking, “Hmmm.... I don’t think this is the best time to be playing a song like this”. As time went on, things started to get back to “normal”. We had work and classes and The Girlfriend was busy planning “our” wedding. Before long sports picked back up and the little things that we learned weren’t really all that important started to become important again. Before you know it, 1... 2... 11 years have gone by and here we are. Since then, I’ve lost two grandmothers (well, I didn’t really “lose” them... they died... I know where they are) and gained two daughters and a son. I’m sure this event hit some people harder than it did me. Some for obvious reasons, some maybe not. Make sure you checkout the History Channel off and on today in between football games. The programming they have on 9/11 is just incredible. Some of the programs have “home video” type footage that really gives a great perspective on how things were that day. Some of it is hard to watch. Most of it will probably bring tears to your eyes (it did mine), but all of it is worth watching.
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