Monday, July 9, 2012

For My Appalachian Brothers . . .

. . . that guy on the porch with the shotgun is the spitting image of my mentor the Deacon of Doom . . .

US Army Special Forces has a strong connection with the country folk of the Appalachian region - I got a formal intro to what I call the Hillbilly Ethos way back when in the Q Course, where we do our graduating exercise Robin Sage amongst the people of the fictictious country of Pineland (which of course is barely in the foothills of Appalachia) and later still when I worked amongst the country people as a survival instructor at SERE . . . the CAG runs it's selection up in the hill country of West Virginia - I've been through that land, it is sheer vertical. There are hollers out there so steep the sun doesn't clear the ridgeline until ten in the morning and slips down below at four in the afternoon, and that's in the summertime.

Deacon educated me about the strong Appalachian culture - going a couple decades back here to my time in Okinawa. Deacon showed me film called
Matewan which documents a little-known chapter of American labor history; the events of a coal mine-workers' strike and attempt to unionize in 1920 in a small town in the hills of West Virginia. The story of the Battle of Matewan is intense - regardless of your feelings about trade unions and what they've morphed into these days; to this day coal mining is all those people up in the hills have for hard cash and the union cause was all they had to fight total exploitation. How ironic it is a sycophant of the modern day unions who seeks to deny these people their source of income.

My colleague and friend Jack of Iraq a.k.a. the Atomic HillBilly comments; "There is actually a town named Appalachia in southwest Virginia, not too far from where I grew up. Interestingly enough, it is located in "Wise" County and their town motto is "Born From Coal Survives Through Spirit".

Deacon says, "I am familiar with this place, it is near the BSA camp by Moon Mountain . . ."

They are good people who live up in those hills; they have a code of hospitality, they will share with you what they've got and if you're apt to listen you will learn a lot from them - I have . . .


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