by Howard Applegate
Â Â 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.
Â Â “He was always talking about Eastern Oregon and the Ochocos,” said Corporal Brenda Myers of Eugene. “He really loved it over there.”
Â Â 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.
Â Â About 30 people turned out for a memorial service at the Methodist Church on Veterans Day.
Â Â 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.
Â Â “We named him after Arlo Guthrie,” she said in tears, “Now, isn’t that ironic? Isn’t that damned ironic?”
Â Â She was referring to the sixties folk-singer, whose song, “Alice’s Restaurant,” became a favorite of concientious objectors during the Vietnam War.
Â Â 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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January 16, 2018
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