Photo by Edward F. Palm)

About Me

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Forest, Virginia, United States
A long time ago, my sophomore English teacher, Father William Campbell, saw something in my writing and predicted that I would someday become a newspaper columnist. He suggested the perfect title for my column--"Leaves of the Palm." Now that I have a little extra time on my hands I've decided to put Father Campbell's prediction to the test. I'm going to start using this blog site not just to reprint opinion pieces I've published elsewhere but to try to get more of my ideas and opinions out there. Feedback is welcome. To find out more about me, please check out my Web site: www.EdwardFPalm.com (Click on any of the photos below for an enlarged view.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Service Obligation of Old: An Afterthought

(Elvis's Jungle Room, Graceland, Memphis, 2004)
I was just thinking about how attitudes toward military service have changed in my lifetime.  In 1957, when he was drafted, Elvis Presley knew that he had to go.  The country was still in that World War II mindset, and Elvis's fans would have turned against him as a "draft dodger."  But In 1967, when the former Cassius Clay refused induction, he became even more of a folk hero than he already was.
      Personally, I have no problem with the stance that Clay took.  Our Vietnam commitment was wrongheaded, and Clay--now Muhammed Ali--resisted the draft openly and with a willingness to accept the consequences.  I am merely holding him up as an example of how radically the mood of the country had changed in ten short years.
      And now, we extol everyone who serves, in any capacity whatsoever, as a "hero,"  Go figure!  --EFP

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