Son of Germaine dies in Iraq, remembered on Veterans Day

by Howard Apple­gate

    A chill hung in the air around Bagdhad on the morn­ing of Novem­ber 6th. Accord­ing to his Ore­gon Nation­al Guard pla­toon mates, young P.F.C. Arlo Childers of Ger­maine teased them about their dis­com­fort in the cold desert air. All of the sol­diers, except Childers, are from the Willamette Val­ley.
    “He was always talk­ing about East­ern Ore­gon and the Ochocos,” said Cor­po­ral Bren­da Myers of Eugene. “He real­ly loved it over there.”
    That morn­ing was the last Cor­po­ral Myers, or the rest of his pla­toon would see Arlo Childers. He was killed when a road­side bomb explod­ed as his con­voy passed on a treach­er­ous sec­tion of high­way into the city cen­ter.
    About 30 peo­ple turned out for a memo­r­i­al ser­vice at the Methodist Church on Vet­er­ans Day.
    The ser­vice illus­trat­ed the divi­sion in this com­mu­ni­ty, and the coun­try at large, over the war in Iraq. After a patri­ot­ic speech by the young Childers’ uncle, urg­ing the com­mu­ni­ty to sup­port our troops, the boy’s moth­er rose to speak.
    “We named him after Arlo Guthrie,” she said in tears, “Now, isn’t that iron­ic? Isn’t that damned iron­ic?”
    She was refer­ring to the six­ties folk-singer, whose song, “Alice’s Restau­rant,” became a favorite of con­ci­en­tious objec­tors dur­ing the Viet­nam War.
    Childers, who was buried Novem­ber 12 at the Ger­maine Pio­neer Cemetary, is sur­vived by a young wife, Melis­sa and their 2 year old son Col­in.

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