Some Gave All…
I’m proud to announce that for the second year in a row, The River 95-3/WZRV has been nominated for Outstanding Sports Coverage by the Virginia Association of Broadcasters for our play-by-play of Shenandoah University Football. As the one who does the p-b-p and in-game production each week, I am extremely proud of the nomination. To win two years in a row would be icing on the cake!
A few of us from the radio station went to DC last night for our annual outing to a Washington Nationals Game. It was “Black Heritage Day” at the ballpark, and the Nationals organization did a great job of honoring the greats of the Negro League like Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, and Josh Gibson, along with Major League legends Ernie Banks, Tony Gwynn, and Willie Mays. We also witnessed a mammoth home-run from Bryce Harper which went into the third deck just above the Jackie Robinson sign. A fun time, despite some GPS challenges…
Now to the main topic. On this Memorial Weekend when we honor our fallen heroes, I wanted to remember those athletes who answered the call and gave up fame & fortune–and their lives–to preserve the freedoms we enjoy.
Most of us know the story of Pat Tillman, the all-pro safety for the Arizona Cardinals who, after the events of 9-11, gave up a multi-million dollar contract to become an Army Ranger. He lost his life in a friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan in 2003. Although there was some controversy about how he died, the fact remains that Tillman could have made millions in the NFL, but chose to serve his country instead, and paid the ultimate price.
But I’ll bet most of us don’t know the story of Elmer Gedeon. Elmer was a 3-sport star at Michigan before being signed by the Washington Senators in 1939. He had 15 major league at-bats that year, and spent all of the next year in the minors. Gedeon looked forward to his chance with the parent club in 1941, but was instead drafted into the Army and became a pilot.
Flying over France in 1944, Gedeon’s bomber took a direct hit, and while the co-pilot was able to escape, the plane was soon engulfed in flames , spiraled out of control, and exploded on impact. Gedeon and five crew members were killed in the explosion.
Elmer was thought to be MIA at first, but in 1945, his family was told that his grave had been found in a small cemetery in France. His body was returned to the States, where you will find him at rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
For sure, these are stories of unfulfilled potential, but also of honor and sacrifice in the face of the unspeakable horrors of war. Amidst the unofficial kickoff of Summer, the picnics, pools, and parties, take a moment this Memorial weekend and remember those who gave all on the fields of battle.
Have a great holiday weekend! GO HORNETS!