Tag Archives: soldier

Flags on State Buildings Lowered in Honor of Slain Soldier

Here’s an email sent to state government offices statewide, as provided by Gov. Bill Haslam’s office:
By order of the Governor, in honor of Private First Class Frank P. Jennings, a Tennessee solider who died in Korea, whose body has been returned home after 61 years, the flags over the State Capitol and all State office buildings shall be flown at half-staff on Friday, April 13th ,2012. The flags should be lowered at 9:00am and raised again to full staff at 4:00pm. Thank you.
News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder joins Tennesseans today in remembering Private First Class Frank Primm Jennings who has been missing in action for nearly 61 years. The Korean War Veteran’s remains arrived at the Nashville International Airport this morning.
Private Jennings was serving with “E” Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in the United States Army when he went missing in South Korea on April 25, 1951. Jennings was posthumously promoted to Private First Class and awarded the Silver Star as well as the Purple Heart for his gallantry in action.
“It is comforting to know PFC Jennings will finally be laid to rest and his family will have the closure they deserve,” Grinder said. “We hope there will be a day when all of our service members currently missing in action will be recovered and brought back home.”
The Decaturville native graduated from Parsons High School and was only 19 years old when he went missing in South Korea.
According to the Jennings family, a Republic of Korea Army unit discovered a set of skeletal remains in October, 1986. However, relatives did not receive confirmation on the identification of PFC Jennings until December, 2011.
PFC Jennings will be buried at Jeanette Cemetery on Saturday April 14, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. CDT.
Jennings is survived by his sister Emily Ann Vise of Decaturville and brother Dr. William G. Jennings of Parsons as well as several nieces and nephews.

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Haslam Travels to Afghanistan

Gov. Bill Haslam traveled Wednesday to Afghanistan, where he dined with Tennessee soldiers and met with commanders of American forces in the war-torn country.
Haslam, who visited with troops in Iraq and Kuwait earlier this week, said in a telephone news conference that he asked about 25 Tennessee soldier at what messages they would want relayed to fellow Tennesseans.
At the top of the list, he said, was, “We really are making progress here and we see it in very concrete ways.”
Haslam said he agreed, despite the “tough, tough deal that we’re in the middle of.”
The U.S. Department of Defense is paying for the trip to Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan by Haslam and the governors of Kentucky, Utah and Nevada.

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Westboro Protesters Targeted by Nashville Counter-Protesters & Legislature

A Franklin County lawmaker says his bill that increases disorderly conduct penalties for people protesting outside funerals and memorial services is intended to target “hateful” groups like Westboro Baptist Church, which demonstrated this week outside a solider’s funeral in Nashville, reports the Chattanooga TFP..
“Groups like Westboro are hateful, ugly and misrepresent the Christian faith,” Sen. Eric Stewart, D-Belivire, said in a news release.
“They disrespect our military families and target our citizens and residents. We must do everything we can to ensure they have no incentive to come here.” Senate Bill 1380, which was recently signed by Gov. Bill Haslam, goes into effect July 1.
It increases penalties for disorderly conduct within 500 feet of a funeral or memorial service from a Class C to a Class B mismeanor. Instead of facing up to 30 days in jail and a $50 fine, persons convicted under the change will be looking at a sentence of up to six months in jail and/or a maximum of $500 fine.
Topkea, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church has achieved national notoriety for its picketing of funerals for slain military service members. The group says on its website that “God Hates America” and is “killing our troops in his wrath.”

Actually, the Westboro protest in Nashville was pretty much a complete flop with an estimated 2,000 people protesting the Westboro protesters appearance at the funeral of a Tennessee soldier killed in Afghanistan.
Excerpt from The Tennessean’s account:
On May 12, Nashville native and Marine Sgt. Kevin Balduf, 27, was killed in combat in Afghanistan. Much closer to his home, Christian fundamentalists in Topeka, Kansas, planned their trip to protest his funeral.
News of Westboro Baptist Church’s plans lit up social media sites, resulting in a counter-protest of about 2,000 people Monday outside Woodmont Hills Family of God church on Franklin Pike. In less than 10 minutes, two hours before the funeral’s start, the three Westboro protesters took their leave.
Earlier Monday, the three protested outside Gordon Jewish Community Center in Bellevue and the Islamic Center of Nashville on 12th Avenue South. During their short protest of the Islamic center, someone slashed the tires on their rented SUV. Metro Police took a report, but no one has been charged.
Since a March Supreme Court ruling in favor of Westboro Baptist, counter-protesters have stepped up their efforts to shout the group down at soldiers’ funerals. America must allow “even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his opinion for the court.

Columnist Gail Kerr, meanwhile, opines today that the counter-protest — and a lawsuit filed against the bill passed by the Legislature to override a Nashville city ordinance forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation – are examples of Nashvillians’ willingness to stand up against bigotry.

Bill Calls for Day of Mourning for Tennesseans Killed in Military Action

The House gave unanimous approval Monday night that calls for the governor to proclaim “a statewide day of mourning” for Tennesseans killed in action during military service.
The measure by Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, was drafted to cover only members of the Tennessee National Guard and had passed the Senate earlier in that form. It was amended in the House to cover all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and now returns to the Senate for approval of that amendment.
The state flag flown over the state capitol will be flown at half-staff on the day of mourning designated by the governor under the bill. The governor is also called upon to notifie the city or county government in the deceased soldier’s home so the flag may be flown at half-staff there as well.
The amended version of the bill is HERE.