This page is dedicated to all the members of the U.S. Military who gave their lives in the defense of their country. The following are those from our family whom we remember on Memorial Day.

Captain Ben Atcheson, a hero's hero. Ben was a senior mechanical engineering major at Texas Tech when he joined the service. Early in his career, he was chosen to fix a landing gear problem on one of the Corp's planes. To our knowledge, Ben made at least 6 belly landings before the problem was solved. Six more that what I'd ever want to experience.

FOR CAPTAIN BEN ATCHESON (1912-1942) (Opus 16) 

"We regret to inform you," the telegram read
"Your boy is now counted among our dead"
Who was this man that was killed in that war?
Captain Ben Atcheson--Army Air Corps

Ben flew a fighter in World War Two
His plane struck another in a mid-air duel
He could have bailed out, but he chose to stay in
For saving his plane was important to him

But Ben didn't make it, spinning out of control
His ship hit the earth with a deafening roar
In an instant his young life was brought to an end
Leaving behind, his loved-ones and friends

Don't forget Ben on Memorial Day
and all fallen soldiers killed in wars far away
American heroes who gave up their lives
For nation and family, that we might survive

The Crash Scene

This page is also dedicated to two great uncles, Walter Iverson  and McKinley Clay Barton, both of whom fought in many major battles in WW1. Walter was gassed and died later in the States from tuberculosis. McKinley was found at a remote outpost while serving with the famous Lost Battalion on WW1. After his return to the States, he was placed in a mental hospital in New York. When they announced to him that his mother had arrived from Texas for a visit, he jumped from a third-floor window, killing himself. Perhaps the following poem, penned by Wilfred Owen, also killed in that war, will help explain the reason for McKinley's condition.

Mental Cases

Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight?
Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows,
Drooping tongues from jaws that slob their relish,
Baring teeth that leer like skulls' teeth wicked?
Stroke on stroke of pain, - but what slow panic,
Gouged these chasms round their fretted sockets?
Ever from their hair and through their hands' palms
Misery swelters. Surely we have perished
Sleeping, and walk hell; but who these hellish?

These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.
Memory fingers in their hair of murders,
Multitudinous murders they once witnessed.
Wading sloughs of flesh these helpless wander,
Treading blood from lungs that had loved laughter.
Always they must see these things and hear them,
Batter of guns and shatter of flying muscles,
Carnage incomparable, and human squander
Rucked too thick for these men's extrication.

Therefore still their eyeballs shrink tormented
Back into their brains, because on their sense
Sunlight seems a blood-smear; night comes blood-black;
Dawn breaks open like a wound that bleeds afresh.
Thus their heads wear this hilarious, hideous,
Awful falseness of set-smiling corpses.
Thus their hands are plucking at each other;
Picking at the rope-knouts of their scourging;
Snatching after us who smote them, brother,
Pawing us who dealt them war and madness

Our bronze plaque at Patriots' Park, Venice, FL

Here's a poem I wrote about World War One: The Bulldog of Flanders Fields

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