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Tuesday, November 9, 1999

Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

Veterans' Day

Veterans' Day is Thursday.

The name tells most of the story. It is the day we have set aside to honor all those that have served in defense of our nation.

It seems like a simple little task.

A thank you from grateful countrymen.

But sometimes, our thank you doesn't seem to ring very loud.

Maybe it's because most of us don't get the day off from work.

Maybe it is because the holiday is always celebrated on November 11 instead of on the Friday or Monday closest to the 11th.

Rarely do folks get a three-day weekend out of the deal like we do on the 4th of July and Labor Day.

November 11th was set aside as a holiday after World War I. On November 11, 1918, at 11:00 a.m., (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month) the armistice was signed ending the war.

In 1926, Americans officially began celebrating the 11th of November. In 1938, November 11th became a national holiday and Congress declared it, "Armistice Day."

Although primarily set aside to honor the veterans of World War I, Congress later amended law creating the holiday in 1954 to the effect that it would be set aside to honor all veterans and Armistice Day became Veterans' Day.

Personally I'm glad we don't create a big three-day weekend out of it. Somehow the reason behind the three-day holidays seems to get lost amidst the hustle to do something with the three-day weekend.

And this one is important.

On thousands of battlefields all over this world, for more than two hundred years, these men fought the battles that decided our fate as a people.

They have endured all that there is to endure as a soldier or sailor or airman or marine _ from terror to boredom _ bitter cold to scorching heat _ cramped quarters to biting loneliness _ and the thousand other pains that go hand-in-hand with military service.

Some were drafted. Some volunteered. But all served. They did their duty.

A simple "thank you" almost seems silly when you think about it.

But, I have it on good authority, that "thanks" will do just fine.

So, thank you one and all _ those that are with us, and those that have gone on. Thursday, the flag flies in your honor because you were willing to defend her.

P.S. November 10th is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Founded on November 10, 1775, the Corps will be 224 years old this year. Happy birthday Marines.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the Editor and Publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:

Our View

Bring back corporal punishment

Gov. Bush hit upon a topic last week that could use further discussion— discipline in public schools.

Today, corporal punishment is nearly gone from public schools. Primarily for fear of lawsuits, school boards and principals have increasingly decided not to enforce the rules of polite conduct with physical punishment.

Doing so leaves teachers in the position of a paper tiger with rules they must enforce, but no means to enforce them.

In the long run, everyone suffers — the classmates of the misbehaving students, the educational process, society in general, and the misbehaving students especially.

Unfortunately, there will always be kids who will not behave in an acceptable manner without a little coercion.

Teachers must have some means of curbing this behavior.

The current trend is a series of warnings that culminates in expulsion. Some school systems expel kids from the regular school to a special school for problem kids. More bad behavior gets them kicked out of the special school and onto the streets.

In the meantime, the entire educational system suffers. Classes are disrupted, teachers are distracted, authority becomes a joke, and well-behaved students have to put up with the unpunished behavior of a few bad actors.

Eventually the kid may get kicked out of school. But what then? Now we have a juvenile running loose with nothing to do and probably no parental supervision during the day. The kid may learn some things, but it won't be out of a book. This is a poor outcome for everyone involved.

This will be criticized as a big over simplification of a complex problem, but a step towards fixing this losing system would be bringing back corporal punishment.

Punishment that is immediate and painful and most importantly, effective.

It was a system that worked well for most of our nation's history and would result in fewer kids expelled from school and abandoned to their own devices.

Your View

Band member disappointed in newspaper articles

To The Editor:
As a member of the Pecos High School Mighty Eagle Band, I agreed very strongly with the letter in Tuesday's paper, submitted by Senior Drum Major, Frank Dominguez.

I think that it is very upsetting to know that the Pecos Enterprise does not show as much support for our band as the rest of the town. I also think it is upsetting that there was not a photographer present to take a picture of us, so you had to put one from last year's performance. Our band has worked very hard these past few months, (the members, dancers, twirlers and flags) and I think that I can speak for all of us when I say that we deserve to be recognized for our hard work and accomplishments.

Proud member of the Mighty Eagle Band

Petition will honor law enforcement officers

To The Editor:
During October 1999, Texas lost four law enforcement officers to senseless, violent deaths. Why? Because they did their job: they answered the call.

According to an FBI report in a front page story in the San Antonio Express-News, October 17, 1999, the most dangerous job in law enforcement is that of a rural deputy sheriff. They are required to enforce all laws—federal, state, county, and city—not just local ordinances. Do you know that many of these rural deputies (and police officers in small communities) earn less than $22,000 per year? Because they earn so little, most of them must moonlight on their days offiust to provide basic needs for their families.

It's time we Texans step up and answer our call. Because Texas is one of the fastest growing states, and we want our state to be safe, it's up to us to see that all law enforcement officers are paid a respectable salary. It's up to you and me to write our state representatives and state senators to demand that Texas either provide a base salary for full-time law enforcement officers or a stipend to bring up those wages that are below the poverty line.

As parents of a law enforcement officer in rural Texas, my husband and I realize that there will always be danger in that job, but we would like to improve the quality of their lives. We need your help. We need people from all 254 counties in Texas to pass around petitions and get signatures from their fellow citizens to present to our state legislature when it meets again in January 2001. If you would like to join a real Texas "posse," send a legal-sized, self addressed, stamped envelope, and I will send you the appropriate petition, information about how to obtain signatures, and directions for delivery of your petition. Send your request to me, Betty Harper Murphy, P.O. Box 102, Fort Stockton, Texas 79735, or e-mail your request to Together our "posse" can round up the signatures needed to get our legislature's attention.

Soon we will celebrate Thanksgiving. Let us also give thanks for all those who willingly serve us as law enforcement officers. Let us remember our fallen heroes in those ranks and let that memory move us into action to improve the quality of lives for their fellow officers, those who are still answering the call.

Sincerely yours,

Eagle Band members deserve more honors

To The Editor,
I have to agree with Frank Dominguez on the disappointment with the two articles regarding the Eagle Band performance in El Paso and at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa. Such great performances deserve some photographs!

Also at the recent Anti Drug Rally not one word was said about the Eagle Band going to Area Competition in Odessa that week. This would have been a great opportunity to show the young kids and the whol e student body just how proud Pecos is of our School Band and its accomplishments. They deserve to be mentioned and applauded for their efforts. They are required to be out early each day in the cold and often spend late hours in the afternoons getting ready for competition.

They are the ones who help create the excitement and spirit during the football games. Another thing, why don't band members have a sign of their own in front of their homes just like athlete's do?

My wife and I made a sign for our daughter to express our support, they should all have one.

These are our kids who make up the Mighty Eagle Band, let's give them the recognition and credit they rightly deserve.


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