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The Prater's Creek Gazette


 14th Issue Summer 2007

Log Cabin Photo

The Hillbilly Doppler reports: Partly rowdy with a 100% chance of  Raisin Cain.

 An American Hero

By Irving O. Tarbox


American soldier photo Like many soldiers fighting in Iraq, and Afghanistan, William Raymond (Billy Ray) Henderson was greatly shaken on September 11, 2001. He and his parents were glued to their television that day as the horrible events unfolded. “Billy Ray, was so upset and mad about the terrorist attacks” his mother recalls. “That afternoon he went for a long walk on the farm. He must have been gone three or four hours.”

When Billy Ray returned, his father noticed a strange look on his son’s face. “Billy Ray came in” his father told the Gazette, “and said ‘Mama, Daddy. I’m gonna join the Army and get them sonovabitches that did that this morning.” The parents were floored by their son’s announcement because, as his dad said, “Billy Ray was so anti-military, such a believer in world peace”. “And”, his mother added, "we had never heard him say a curse word.”

By the next day, Billy Ray’s parents understood their son’s decision and were proud that he was “going to join the good fight”.

After he finished boot camp, the war had shifted to Iraq, where Billy Ray was sent and he was there the day Saddam Hussein’s statue was toppled. Billy Ray wrote his parents about that day’s events, calling it the “most thrilling day of my life”. “He was so proud to help them people and get rid of that evil madman Saddam,” said Mrs. Henderson.

He spent a year and half in Iraq before returning stateside. Last November he was re-deployed to Iraq. His mother said he “never griped about going back. He said there was more work to be done.”

Yesterday Billy Ray died in a roadside explosion in Baghdad. He was 23 years old.

“I did two tours in Vietnam” his father tearfully said, “but I was drafted and made to go. Billy Ray volunteered. I don’t know if I had that kind of guts when I was his age.”

Tonight there will be a special candlelight prayer service at Prater’s Creek First Baptist Church at 7 PM for Billy Ray. The Hendersons ask everybody that can’t attend to “remember all of the men and women serving our country in their prayers tonight”.

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