Marriott's Courtyard -- April 19 to April 23, 2006
Shirley McKinney hosts an entire
Reunion . . . of her Father's Railsplitters:
the 84th Infantry Division, 334th Regiment, Company "C."
See the whole story below.
This picture was taken at Little Rock Air Force Base.
Front row sitting left to right:
Airman George Guerra, Wilma Huckeby,
Shirley Jackson McKinney, Marilyn Radtke, Earl Radtke, Jo Long, Ruth Coy,
and Eileen Oates; Second row Airman, Airman, Maria Zuriga and Airman, Bob Huckeby,
James Corn, Delores Corn, Billie Simpson, Ruth Davis, Lois Melendiz,
Winona Richardson, Bob Oates, Ted Coy Top Row: Joe Simpson, Roy Huckeby,
Bob Warnock, Barbara Landers, Devon Cockrell, Barbara Aldrich,
Airman Steven Radtke, Airman, Ken Davis, Louis Melendiz,
Jim McKinney, and Airman Paul Richardson
Emily Ball, Granddaughter of Shirley McKinney. She sang:
"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company "C!"
The GI bear that each Railsplitter Veteran received at the reunion.
Shirley listens to the stories and observations of Railsplitters
Ted Coy, Paul Richardson, Jim Aldrich, and Joe Simpson
On the staircase at the Governor's Mansion: Front row: Delores Corn,
Lois Melindiz, Shirley Jackson McKinney, Maria Zuriga, Winona Richardson
Second row: Billie Simpson, Jo Long, Lou Melindiz, and Paul Richardson;
Third Row: Mildren Mayton, Marilyn Radtke, Jim Corn, Barbara Aldrich,
Jim Aldrich, George Guerra, and Joe Simpson
What a wonderful 4 days we spent with these WWII heroes. They had a grand time and I had a grander time watching them, listening to their stories, looking at their pics, laughing, tearing up, and most of all just hugging them!
Everything was perfect! They were delighted with their accommodations, food, tours, and their special reception. We toured the Governor's Mansion, the Little Rock Air Force Base, and the Clinton Library. Everyone treated them as royalty (as it should be).
Our family hosted them to a party after the Saturday night banquet. The reception area was decorated with a framed picture of each of them while in uniform and Railspltter GI Teddy Bears (collars, ties, caps, all with their logo.)
My musically talented granddaughter and her dad were dressed in GI attire, granddaughter as a cute little WAC and her dad as a GI, sang WWII songs with the favorite being "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company C!" Afterward they were introduced to "Mail Call" again as my other granddaughter's second grade class had written them each a letter. There were tears of gratitude on both our parts. They were so surprised and impressed and we had the chance to thank them each for their courage with many hugs.
At the end of the party, a guest at the hotel came up and asked me if he could say a word to the guys. He had been watching from a distance. He explained that he wanted to thank each of them personally because he had been deployed in the same area these men had fought in. He expressed the gratitude the people had shown him for what "THESE MEN" had done. He reaped the blessing of thanks that was theirs and wanted to convey this in person to each of them.
These guys went home with warm memories of Little Rock and I have added even warmer memories in my heart of "my" guys! My dad would be so proud to see us all together - and in my heart I know he did! What a wonderful time was had by all at this Little Rock Reunion.
In Their Memory,
Shirley Jackson McKinney
Proud Daughter of Cpt. Earl L. Jackson
84th Infantry Division Railsplitters
The photos (not to mention the Reunion) were provided by Shirley Jackson McKinney, with thanks!