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.