150 words about 39 miles
Leeds, Ala., city limit signs call it the “City of Valor.” Now that I know why, I make a point of riding through every Memorial Day weekend. Best known as the home of Charles Barkley, it’s more significantly the home of three Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. From a town of about 10,000. The streets were empty today; flags snapped in the breeze. I rode a little slower than usual and thought of Staff Sgt. Red Erwin, radio operator on a B-29 over Japan, wrestling a burning phosphorous smoke bomb out of his plane, saving his crew mates. And PFC Alford McLaughlin, defending his outpost in Korea alone with two machine guns until they were too hot to hold. And First Lt. William Lawley, severely wounded, flying his crippled bomber with one hand to England because two of his crew were too injured to bail out. That’s valor worth remembering.