By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
January 23, 2002
Saluting the flag. . .and the man
I now know who lives at 1755 Morton Road in east Clarke County. His name is Andy Cain.
The flag he raised high above the fence post at the corner of his lot on 9/11 is still flying.
Since I told you about it three weeks ago, I have learned that this is no ordinary flag. And Andy Cain is no ordinary man.
(Shirley and I drove over to his house to give him a copy of Cleaning out the shoebox and to thank him for the patriotism that inspired that column. He called to say he liked the story, and I asked him if we might sit down together and talk sometime. He agreed. Three visits and numerous phone calls resulted in this follow-up to the January 2 piece.)
Andy had a simple answer as to why he raised the flag when he did. I had to do it, he said. September 11 was a wake-up call.
The flag had been asleep (stored) in a drawer in his room for 34 years ever since he was 15 years old. He is 49 now, and has lived most of his life with the idea that he would fly that flag someday.
The flag is special because it represents four generations of military service. It was my grandfathers coffin flag, Andy explained.
And so he raised it on 9/11 in honor of Edwin Osborne, his maternal grandfather, who served in the U.S. Army in Europe in World War I.
And he raised it in honor of Seaborne Wright Cain, his paternal grandfather, who served in the Navy in World War I.
And he raised it in honor of his father, Lorry Cain, who was in the Navy in World War II.
And he raised it in honor of his 20-year-old son, Brandon, who is currently serving in the Marines in Americas war on terrorism.
The fifth member of this military family is Andy himself. I went in the Marines at 17, graduated from boot camp on my 18th birthday, served four years, and was discharged as an E5 (staff) Sergeant.
And naturally, I raised my boys the Marine Corps way.
And what might that be? I asked.
Stand on your own two feet and accept responsibility, was Andys Marine Corps answer.
And that is what he has done and is doing.
Fresh out of the military, Andy signed on with Athens-Clarke County Police Department and started going to college at about the same time. He attended the University of Georgia for two years and then transferred to Brenau College in Gainesville. It took him almost a decade to do it, but he finally graduated with a BS degree in criminal justice.
Andy served 23 years with the police departments SWAT team, and was the team commander for 15 of those years.
A SWAT team, he said, is designed to handle extremely dangerous calls where ordinary policemen lack the skills and equipment to do the job.
Despite some harrowing experiences, Andy downplayed the danger.
Driving up and down these highways is more dangerous.
The man said he was hired to enforce the law and maintain order. In recent years that became more and more difficult to do. Political correctness, trying to make everybody happy, fear of violating someones civil rights, and unnecessary paperwork among other things made the work unpleasant.
I quit in 1999. It was time to move on.
Andy moved on to training and security responsibilities that reach beyond Clarke County to the entire nation and, indeed, the world. He helped train peacekeepers in Bosnia and anti-terrorism forces in Colombia. He currently is on a three-month mission somewhere in the world as a lead instructor with the State Departments anti-terrorism training program.
The work has its drawbacks. Being away from home and his wife is one of them. But there are rewards, such as working with people who are hungry for professional training and have never had it before.
A team of eight instructors works with 24 trainees. If you are overweight and out of shape, you wont make it. We try to turn em into a 24-man SWAT team. Its tough. But its just as hard on the instructors as it is on the trainees. We dont ask them to do anything we dont do.
Yes, the training is different now than it was before September 11. It is more intense. There is a sense of urgency. Theres no such thing as a schedule. Theres more CRT (crisis response training). The key word is fluid.
Andy doesnt doubt that well eventually defeat terrorism. But if we are going to beat it, we are going to have to beat it in our minds first. If we change the way we live, they win.
The former Marine said he was raised to believe you ought to go in the military, and every citizen male and female should serve two years.
Trust me, the man looks like a Marine and a fighter. If I were a terrorist, hed be my worst nightmare. He also looks like he could play the lead role in a James Bond movie. He fits that old Southern saying, He could go bear hunting with a switch.
Which led me to ask, What would you do with Osama bin Laden if you had him?
I would take him hunting, was the reply.
Andy Cain has but one fear: That my son may be killed in some cesspool country fighting for somebody elses freedom.
I still walk by the flag at 1755 Morton Road every day, and every day going and coming I salute it. But I salute more than the flag now. I also salute the man who raised it in honor of his two grandfathers, his father, and his son.
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.
The Jackson Herald
January 23, 2002
Burn Harry Potter
Charlottes Web has been named the number one must read by educators and parents for 2002. Again. It was the number one book when I was in first grade. I read it four or five times. Its pure fantasy, but that is what kids go for. Talking barnyard animals. Spiders that can spell fantastic. And a pig that doesnt end up on the table as bacon. I lived and breathed fantasy before high school. A Wrinkle In Time and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Aladdin, Dumbo, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella (Well, I could stop here and say the entire Disney empire).
On December 30, Jack Brock, the pastor of the Alamogordo Christ Community Church in Alamogordo, New Mexico, led 500 congregants in a book burning aimed at ridding the world of a masterpiece of satanic deceptionHarry Potter books.
Im laughing. I see the devil standing behind J.K. Rowling inspiring her to write the novels that will instigate the Anti-Christ and the end of the world. Im giggling, you just cant hear it.
Brock poses with a waxy smile on his face. He is wearing a red and purple tie with a dark suit covered mostly by one of those trenchcoats Dick Tracy always wore. The book is held to the left of him so as not to obscure his very political look and his fingers allow the camera to catch the full title, Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone: Poster Book, as well as the picture of Harry Potter from the new movie. A bonfire blazes in the background. Im sure in six months or so he will announce his candidacy for the United States Senate. What I really want to know is, did they steal all the books they burned or did they buy them just to burn them? People are starving and theyre chucking brand new books into a fire. I hope they at least brought some hot dogs or marshmallows to the shindig so the fire wasnt a complete waste. Youve got to see the humor in it. Camera crews were there. The bonfire was there. The hopeful Senator. His congregation. And the anti-book burning protesters were there. They were calling Brock and his bunch Nazis.
Id still be laughing and not even mentioning Harry Potter in a column if I hadnt read that schools have banned the books because of their perceived anti-religious elements of magic and wizardry. Thats not funny. The four states, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Illinois and Wyoming, are not Bible Belt states as one might guess. I would expect to read that Tennessee, home of the renowned Scopes trial, had banned the books, but not the Windy City.
If theyre going to be Nazis, then I have a few more books and movies they should add to their list so as not to be hypocritical Nazis. Books by Madeline LEngle are out. Too many fantastical elements. Youll have to get rid of most Once Upon A Times. They usually star dragons, knights and witches. This would include any story mentioning Merlin even in passing. We all know who he is. The Goosebump series is definitely questionable. The Never-ending Story. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and all its counterparts. Escape to Witch Mountain. The Wizard of Oz. A favorite of many, I know, but Im sure we all agree it has to go. Maybe we could change it in the history books so it isnt listed as Best Picture of the Year. Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The animated series as well as the original series. All of the books associated with said teenage witch. No more Bewitched reruns. And none of that talking horse, Ed. If Harry Potter is the work of the devil then Ed must be the devil himself.
Or we could allow children to read books about princesses and knights in shining armor and little boys with glasses who can fly on brooms. We can let them dream of riding on unicorns and living in a world where bullies dont always come out on top.
Schools banning books is more evil than a book written about a boy who can fly on a broom. Harry Potter and God can coexist. There can be magic and the Holy Spirit in childrens lives. One doesnt nullify the other.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.