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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 25, 2013/ 14 Nissan, 5773

Vietnam veteran deserved an honorable farewell

By Mitch Albom








http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If you knew Sanderious Crocker, please read this.

He died.

He was 67. Folks called him Sam. He was living in poverty in downtown Detroit. A Vietnam veteran who was seriously wounded, he'd been homeless for a while. He struggled with alcohol. Maybe you know this. Maybe you don't. Maybe you lost touch. Maybe you wanted to.

Whatever the case, you should know that Sam's body had been sitting at a Detroit morgue for a week before a friend called me and asked whether there was a way to find his family -- any family -- because a soldier shouldn't die alone and neglected.

He left behind his papers. I am looking at his discharge form now. It says he served four years in the Marine Corps, from 1964-68. It says he earned badges for pistol and rifle marksmanship. It says he won several medals.

Under "Character of Service" is one word:

"Honorable."

It's possible I met Sam Crocker, and maybe some of you did, too, because he used to hang around the I Am My Brother's Keeper Ministries on Brainard and Trumbull. The earliest anyone remembers him there is 1998, when he was sitting on a low wall across the street from the church.

"It was summertime, and we were talking, and he was telling us he used to sing background with the Contours before he went to Vietnam," remembers Anthony Castelow, an elder of the church. "Finally about 7:30 we said, 'OK, we're gonna go.' But the next morning we came back, and we saw him sleeping on the ground on the other side of the wall.

"I said, 'Sam, what are you sleeping on the ground for? You're a veteran! You gottta have a check coming and a place to live, right?'

"Well, he cussed me out with both barrels. He said, 'Don't tell me what I gotta have.' I said, 'OK, OK, I apologize.' That night, Pastor Henry Covington took him in, let him stay with some of the homeless guys in the church."

By that point, Sam was already over 50 years old. As near as I can cobble together, he'd been part of a family that was split apart due to domestic issues. He graduated from high school in 1964 and shortly thereafter went into the Marines.

He did four years. Fought "guerrilla forces" in Vietnam. According to his paperwork, he received the Presidential Unit Citation, which is given for extraordinary heroism in action.

What Sam did over there, I cannot tell you, because he apparently did not like to talk about it.

"He was shot up pretty badly," as Castelow recalls. "He lost half his stomach. He lost use of his legs for a long time. He was angry about it."

Over time, it caused Sam to withdraw from much of life, and take up with alcohol.

Does this sound like a familiar story?

No man should die alone. No man should be buried without a farewell. Sam Crocker, who used a motorized wheelchair at the end, had no family around when he passed, left no information, no phone numbers. I put the word out through calls and the Internet, and some 200,000 people shared it around the world through Facebook. Eventually, a younger sister was located.

She was stunned. She hadn't had contact with her brother in 40 years. All the other siblings, she said, were dead. When I told her that Sam, as a veteran, was entitled to a military funeral, she was extremely grateful, and said she would attend.

Annette Covington of My Brother's Keeper was instrumental in connecting people. Deacon Norris, who owns Gates of Heaven Funeral Home in Detroit, has rescued the remains and "got him a nice suit and tie."

Sam spoke of a daughter. No one has been able to find her. If she is reading this, perhaps she wants to get in touch.

The rest of us can pay our respects 3 p.m. this Friday at the I Am My Brother's Keeper church. Sam will later be interred, with a military funeral at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly.

Maybe you knew Sam. Maybe you didn't. Maybe you feel bad for his ending. Maybe you don't. I can't sit here and tell you Sam was a great man or even a good one. But I do know he served when his country called, and he paid a price, and the military sent him off with the word "honorable."

Maybe we should do the same.



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