Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Today we have honored our soldiers, all our soldiers. I give particular thought on these patriotic holidays to a Continental soldier in the American Revolution, a 19-year-old named Thomas Ponder. Ponder fought in the crucial Battle of the Cowpens in South Carolina in 1781 against a brutal British commander named Banastre Tarleton. The American commander at Cowpens was a tough and crafty hillbilly sort named Daniel Morgan. Morgan did some tactical maneuvering on the battlefield that messed with Tarleton's head. Along with King's Mountain, Cowpens was one of the important fights in the campaign in the South. Thomas Ponder was my great-grandfather's grandfather. We heed that very old history less than we did when I was a kid, but we should all be mindful of the debt we owe those men who stuck their necks out to secure our freedom.
Then there was my uncle, MSgt Russell Ponder, who I always believed won WWII. In a way, he did, because a lot of duty-bound men like him did it together.


Mark Coleman said...

I live a few miles down the road from Cowpens and Daniel Morgan remains a prominent name around here. Names like that make long-ago battles seems close enough to touch. We sure owe those boys a lot.

The Loon said...

Mark - I'm tickled to hear from someone on the spot. Thomas Ponder settled in Greenville after the war. We keep talking about a pilgrimage to that part of the world to see the scenes of the ancestors. My wife is of East Kentucky Welsh stock and had a forebear at King's Mountain. I feel like the southern campaign is underappreciated in history; nobody gives the hillbillies credit.