To The Editor:
As I sat reading the Cleveland Daily Banner on Father’s Day, I came across an article written by William J. Frank titled, “I am a True American and I Love America.” I liked the title and began to read. I was almost brought to tears as I read what this gentleman had to say.
The gist of Mr. Frank’s article was that he was a true American — born in America and had raised his family here and was sincerely concerned and afraid for our country because of the direction we seem to be headed ... very rapidly.
When he (and I) were growing up, each day at the beginning of the school day in elementary school we all stood, and with our hand over our heart, we recited the pledge to the flag of the United States of America. Now admittedly, when we were really young we really didn’t understand why we did this, but as we grew older we really did understand and were proud to do it.
When we got to Bradley High School, each morning before classes began, Mrs. [Inez] Clemmer would turn on the intercom and one of our classmates would read a short Scripture and offer a short prayer. That was the way we started our day and I never heard any of my classmates find fault with the practice.
At this point in history, the military draft was in effect. All able-bodied young men were expected to spend at least a couple of years in one of the branches of service to help to keep our military up to strength, and just as important, help these same young men develop into responsible American citizens.
My military service was in the Army and with a few months in Vietnam. Although not wounded myself, I lost a great number of friends and comrades in a terrible battle in 1965, and a day never goes by that I don’t think of these guys. When I meet a person that is wearing a cap or shirt with a military designation on it, I always try to say, “Thank you for your service,” or “Welcome home, soldier.”
I don’t understand the direction we are currently headed! To reduce the military strength to a level lower than any time since before World War II does not make any sense to me. We are retiring our most highly ranking military personnel at a rate never before seen. These are the guys that have “been there and done that” and know how to prepare our forces and to fight if the need arises.
When our secretary of state was questioned as to why reinforcements were not sent to protect our embassy in Benghazi and she replied, “ ... At this point, what difference does it make?” ... in my opinion, it made a world of difference — very possibly the difference between life and death.
In the future, my family and I will continue to support the proud, patriotic, family-oriented, hard-working people of America who have done so much to make America great, and do everything in our power to keep her there.
God Bless America!
— Bill McClure
Clevelander reflects on Laughrey life
To The Editor:
It was with sadness that I read the recent obituary of Elaine Pulliam Laughrey in your newspaper. Since she was such a large part of the lives of so many in our community, I believe it is appropriate to pay tribute to this very special person.
I knew Elaine during the years she lived and worked here in Cleveland, mostly through the decade of the 1970s. She was a Lee College student who, after completing her education, saw Cleveland as a wonderful place to settle down.
Elaine dedicated herself to helping the downcast, those who lacked hope and the economically disadvantaged. She went to work for the county school system, requesting an assignment to East Cleveland School so that she could teach disadvantaged children.
But her work went well beyond the classroom. Elaine moved into an old house on Chippewa Avenue across from the old Blythe Avenue School so that she could be close to the families to which she was devoted. We will never know for sure, but perhaps it was in that home, which had been divided into two apartments, that she breathed in the asbestos that would more than 30 years later bring on the mesothelioma that would, much too early, take her life.
Elaine spent much of what she made from her teaching job to feed, clothe and meet the needs of the children and families that she so cherished. These children, now in their 30s and 40s, called her “Miss Elaine.” She prayed with them, comforted them and made each feel excellent and worthy.
Elaine was also passionate about her faith, finding through the ministry of Brother [M.E.] Littlefield and Faith Memorial Church the perfect channel to express it. It was a church committed to helping the same people Elaine served. She became the first director of the Little People’s Church — the church’s children’s ministry. Every Saturday, Elaine set out in an old Volkswagen bus, converted for use as a snow cone van, to teach Bible lessons, invite children and families to church, and to treat each child with a snow cone.
On Sunday morning, Elaine was on the church bus as it set out early to pick up those same children. Sometimes she went into their homes to help them get dressed before loading them on the bus. At the Little People’s Church, Elaine preached to them the Gospel to which she was so faithful. Afterward, she served food and treats to everyone.
In 1981, after much soul-searching, Elaine reached the decision to leave Cleveland. It was not easy. The children she would leave behind weighed heavily on her heart. They numbered into the thousands. Still, she felt a broader calling to Christian education and had an opportunity to fulfill it. Elaine went to work for Lester Sumrall’s ministry in Indiana.
After she left, I lost contact with Elaine. However, through mutual friends I knew she married, had a son and continued to minister in much the same way as she had done here in Cleveland.
I can only imagine what it was like for Elaine and her family at the close of her life, but I feel confident of one thing. I believe she heard the words of Matthew 25:21, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
— Michael Willis