Topic: "Medal of Honor" (6)
Frodo shuffled his feet, trying to establish some level of comfort, while seated in one of the desks designed for elementary school children. Even the Hobbit was uncomfortable in something this small. When finally called upon, he rose from the desk vowing to never again attempt a return to something some totally confining. He cleared his throat as he addressed the panel of educators.
"Ladies and gentlemen, in the entire history of Cobb County, Georgia, the single most significant historical event to have occurred within these boundaries took place when our ancestors were engaged in that great struggle which threatened to rend our nation. During those days, a group of Union soldiers and sympathizers slipped into this community incommunicado, and in what has since been dubbed 'The Great Train Robbery,' they stole a locomotive and headed due north with the hope of disrupting military transportation and destroying the railroad behind them."
Frodo had their attention, and he rose upon his tiptoes as he got to the crux of his speech. "These men were led by a civilian, from Ohio, named James J. Andrews, which explains why historians refer to the action as the 'Andrews Raid.' Those of you here today know that the Raiders were eventually captured just short of the Tennessee State Line, and were brought before the Confederate Military. Andrews and the other civilians in the band were executed as spies. Several of the soldiers had been killed in the action itself, and the remainder were sent to military prisons. Many people are unaware of the fact that several of the surviving soldiers were the very first recipients of what has since become America's greatest military honor, the Medal of Honor. The heroic Andrews, of course, was a civilian and was therefore not included in this number."
With little dabs of moisture in his eyes, Frodo then said, "Let me express my gratitude to you for considering my suggestion to name the newly-created School of the Shire the 'James J. Andrews Memorial School.' There is, at this time, no marker, no statue, no memorial to either Andrews or any of the heroes he lead in service to our country. Wouldn't it be grand to invite the descendants of Mr. Andrews to our community for the dedication? Wouldn't it be even grander to also invite Fess Parker, the immortal 'Davy Crockett', who played Andrews in the Disney movie about the raid? Can't you imagine how fondly our community would be portrayed by this act? A community in the heart of the rebel stronghold would stop to honor the first recipients of the Medal of Honor, and 'Davy Crockett' would be there, too."
Frodo received a nice round of applause. Afterwards, several of the judges came up to him and congratulated him for his presentation and for the wisdom of his appeal.
The school was named for the farmer who sold the land to the county for the construction of the school. A man who never completed the third grade.
Today, Fess Parker died. Few people will ever understand why a coonskin cap now rests this eve upon the front gate of the School of the Shire.
Frodo doesn't need it anymore.
Davy Crockett said, "Be sure you're right and then go ahead."