Place Names That Strike Terror

By Major Van Harl USAF Ret

US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya
Protesters pulled down the American flag from the U.S. embassy in Cairo as they scaled the walls of the embassy. (Reuters)

Wisconsin –-(  The Little Big Horn, everyone knows, was where General Custer and his 7th Cavalry were completely wiped out by Native Americans.

We have all seen the Errol Flynn movie and witnessed how bravely the soldiers fought and died at Custer’s Last Stand.

What is ingrained in Americans is when you hear the words Little Big Horn you do not think of a river in Montana, you think of 210 soldiers led to their death by a leader of questionable sound mind.

My Lai is two words that most Americans do not really want to hear about and know very little of the facts of American involvement. On 16 March 1968, approximately 347-504 South Vietnamese citizens were massacred by US Army troops.

Kent State, a university in Ohio where in May 1970 the Ohio National Guard opened fire on protesting college students. Four people were killed and nine were wounded. It will always be remembered from the photo of a fourteen-year-old run-away female who is seen kneeling, screaming over the body of a dead college student.

The Texas Tower massacre was where a gunman climbed up the tower in the middle of the University of Texas campus and proceeded to shoot anyone he could line up in his rifle sights.

Virginia Tech: where a mentally ill Korean student went on a shooting spree at that university and killed 32 people in a matter of a few hours.

Columbine is a flower. When Eisenhower was president, his aircraft, Air Force One was called Columbine. In Colorado, the name Columbine is and will always be linked to death. However, it is not just Coloradoans, for most North Americans when you hear the word Columbine they think of the high school shooting: a shooting that killed twelve students and a teacher in the Denver area. A campus massacre that the Nation and every parent who has a child in a K-12 school system knows about and fears a repeat shooting in their school. Two fellow Columbine students make their way through the high school campus summarily executing their classmates.

A few years back I was in Jefferson County, Colorado on duty as a Colorado Ranger at the annual Irish Festival. It was held in a park next to Columbine high school. I had been in the high school the prior winter when my daughter was attending a school function on that campus. A lot of money and effort was put into those buildings after the shooting to clean up and remove any evidence of the carnage that happened in those halls and classrooms. It is actually a very pleasant-looking campus and with the shooting happening in 1999 there are no students and very few remaining faculty who were even there that day.

One of the things I found very interesting about the post-massacre campus is the school mascot. Columbine is the Rebels and their mascot is a 1776 Revolutionary War soldier. I found pictures of the mascot prior to the shooting and he always had a flintlock, period-correct musket in his hand, but not now. On the wall in the gym is a large mural of a Revolutionary War scene with explosions and smoke in the background. You get the idea that a great battle is going on and the soldier in the mural appears to have undergone combat trauma.

As an old infantry trained soldier myself, what I noticed instantly after entering the gym was the Rebel in the mural did not carry his rifle. In the main hallway, there is a life-size manikin in a beautiful glass case, dressed in the blue uniform of a 1776 Rebel soldier. The detail of the uniform and equipment was excellent but instead of a rifle in the soldier’s hand, he carries a walking stick.

The Rebel mascot of Columbine who is there to lead the fight for the high school has had the fight taken out of him.

I can only assume that the sight of a 200-year-old single-shot rifle can strike fear in the minds of some people who must walk the halls of Columbine high school. I visited the Columbine Memorial and I do understand fear. Little Big Horn, Mi Lai, Kent State, Texas Tower, Virginia Tech, and Columbine, are words that terrify with memories of past death and destruction, and a reminder that it will happen again.

A precautionary lockout was ordered by law enforcement at Columbine High on 16 April 2012, because of a bomb threat. No one was hurt. It has been 13 years since evil killed those children. Now we have had the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado, and the Sikh Temple shootings in Oak Creak, (Milwaukee County) Wisconsin.

Remember but be vigilant, evil brings terror and destruction. As of today, 12 September 2012, you can include the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where men of evil killed good Americans.

Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
[email protected]

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.

Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret. , is a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. Now retired, these days he enjoys camping, traveling, volunteering with the Girl Scouts and writing. [email protected]

Major Van Harl USAF Ret Winter 2014

0 0 votes
Article Rating
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I strongly encourage politicians in the USA burn Quran in public and send these muslim pigs a message: America will not tolerate your behavior and will continue to demonstrate free speech in the US,

If only more politicians burn/urinate on Quran, instead of appeasing to these muslim thugs!