Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

May 1, 2013

Hoosier soil on veterans’ graves

Greensburg — Butch Kennedy and his son Shane did something rather marvelous. When the two were going to Europe some years ago they dug up some Indiana earth from around his land at Smith’s Crossing and took it with them to Europe.

Remembering how hard it is sometimes to get past luggage inspectors, I asked how he was able to get the Hoosier earth past them. He answered, “I just put it in baggies in my luggage and there was nothing said.”

Shane is a lieutenant in the United States Navy but has also served in the Army and Air Force. Butch served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era.

I didn’t ask when they took the earth to Europe but it was most likely before 9/11. Anyhow, he got it into France and as he and Shane were walking through one of the large American veteran cemeteries they put a pinch of Indiana earth on each of the graves of the men from Indiana.

“It didn’t matter that nobody knew about it, I didn’t feel that I was making some grand gesture, I just wanted to do it and my son was happy to help me. Maybe it didn’t mean anything to anybody else but it meant something to Shane and me.”

Butch served as a machinist mate in M division on the USS Kearsarge (CVS 33) from 1964 through 1968 during the war in Vietnam. The Kearsarge has quite a history when you consider that a total of five ships have had that name during the history of this country. The first Kearsarge (named for Mount Kearsarge in Wilmot, New Hampshire, and Warner, New Hampshire) was launched in 1861 and got the best of the Confederate raider CSS Alabama during the Civil War. In 1894 that Kersarge was wrecked. The second was in World War I and World War II and sold for scrap in 1955. The third was renamed the Hornet before it was launched. The fourth (Butch’s ship) was launched in 1945, served in the Korean War and Vietnam War and scrapped in 1974. The fifth, commissioned in 1993, is still in active service.

The museum Butch has created is at Smith Crossing, on the left on 46 going toward Batesville. When I visited his museum last week I first noticed a Garland Milling Co. flour sack, a big business in Decatur County at one time.

The next thing I saw was a huge picture, at least two yards long, of the Odd Fellows complex in Greensburg taken when the buildings were completed and people lived there. I’ve seen smaller versions, and post cards of the same picture but this one is enormous and clear.

The picture of the Westport Covered Bridge is a beauty but, by far, his collection of World War I and World War II “Yard Longs,” are the most impressive items in his collection. Yard longs are those 36 inch by 8 inch pictures of servicemen and women who have finished their basic training. They were, I think, most common during World War I and World War II. Butch has collected many from all over the United States.

He has 16 pictures or diagrams of camps such as Camp Lee, Va./ Sandusky, Ohio/ Camp Wallace, Texas/ Camp Edward, Mass./ Camp MacArthur, Calif./ and more, including the prison camp Andersonville.

Andersonville was a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp during the Civil War, where 13,000 men (of approximately 45,000 Union prisoners) died of starvation, malnutrition, diarrhea or diseases.

Butch has pictures of Germans in World War I as well as English, Turkish and Japanese of that war. He has pictures of General Lee but none (that I could see) of General Grant. Don’t mistake that for any sympathy with the Confederates though. He collects what he can find.

There are several pictures of General Pershing, and many in the space he has set aside for the Navy of the USS Maine, other ships and sailors, the troop ship Mt. Vernon and the Nurses Corps.

There’s no question that Butch’s site at Smith’s Crossing would be an excellent place for groups to visit if they give him advance notice. He specifically mentioned that he’d be glad to show it to interested veterans or veteran groups.

Next week, I’ll tell you something else about Burch’s collection, yes, something incredibly historic, that’s in his building. Also about the man that he met not long ago and whose story is like none other.

Whatever you do, don’t miss the Chautauqua at the High School Auditorium tomorrow evening. I know it’s going to be ever so grand.

 

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Spaulding Outdoors: The Inside on Indiana's Outside Nature’s BountyOur daughters were raised in the country and definitely couldn’t be considered “citified” children. Not with Dad around! From the time I was a little boy, I learned there are a lot of good things coming from the wild, and I set about e

    July 29, 2014

  • Word of advice So, what’s the word?Really, what is the word? With over 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which th

    July 29, 2014

  • 9/11 Commission chair scolds Congress for national security failures INDIANAPOLIS – Retired Congressman Lee Hamilton has warned of the perils of political ideology, calling the body where he spent 34 years “noxiously partisan.” Now, he worries the divide is downright dangerous. A co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Ha

    July 29, 2014

  • Brian Howey: Rising up to meet Putin's thuggery BLOOMINGTON – Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of the Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my pa

    July 29, 2014

  • Pat Smith: A reader's special note Before beginning this week’s column it must be stressed that I love getting emails from readers, love getting telephone calls from readers and love seeing readers when I’m out and about – especially those who very generously tell me that they read th

    July 24, 2014

  • Spaulding Outdoors: The Inside on Indiana's Outside Early Migratory Bird 2014 Season Dates The 2014 early migratory bird season dates have been submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Indiana DNR as listed below. The dates are not final until the USFWS approves them, which typically hap

    July 24, 2014

  • Why incumbents get reelected Incumbents are masters at posing as outsiders, when in fact they are insiders who produce the Congress they disdain. It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its

    July 24, 2014

  • Lessons from the largely forgotten war As we approach the official date on which the First World War started, July 28, 1914, when the first shots were fired by the Austro-Hungarians who invaded Serbia, it’s appropriate to think about the lessons that catastrophic event has taught us one h

    July 24, 2014

  • Protecting Indiana's agricultural heritage With the 4-H fairs in full swing, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about agriculture. Since Indiana became a state back in 1816, agriculture has played a vital role in our livelihood. For those who are not from Indiana, our state is practica

    July 22, 2014

  • Improving Indiana's infrastructure It is always a happy time when my family visits, especially to celebrate a wedding. I recently played hostess for my niece and her wedding party when she was looking for somewhere to hold her rehearsal dinner. I absolutely enjoy when family comes to

    July 22, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.