Monday, September 06, 2004

Pilot dead,flew Bush onto aircraft carrier, Mission Accomplished

One Who Won't Be Returning
September 05, 2004

As expressed in other letters to the editor, I, too, would like to thank everyone for their expression of concern for our troops.
But I am writing this letter for one of the approximately 1,000 troops who will not be returning. How do we show our support to them?

On Aug. 10, Indiana lost one of its finest, a loving father, husband, a person who loved his country, family, and his hometown.

Lt. Commander Scott Zellem was a great kid growing up here in Indiana, later a great student, a great athlete, a great U.S. Naval Academy graduate and then a great military pilot after receiving his wings in 1992 at Pensacola, Fla.

He flew his plane from different aircraft carriers, including the USS Independence and the USS Abraham Lincoln.

He flew combat missions over Iraq during several deployments, including Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, for which he was awarded the Air Medal.
He was such an excellent pilot that he was chosen to fly President Bush onto the deck of the USS Lincoln, where the president gave his famous speech declaring the end of combat in Iraq.

I might add that Scott is the son of Sally Zellem, retired director of the Indiana Chapter of the American Red Cross, who helped hundreds of Indiana County residents during their times of need.

I could tell you story after story about what Scott did to make all of Indiana so proud of him, but my daughter summed it up better than I on the Internet when she was asked to share stories about him along with the rest of his graduation class at Indiana High School.

In these times when all you hear are negative things about our young people it made me so proud to find out how close Scott's Indiana High School class is. My daughter wrote:

"I have thought over the past couple of weeks about Scott, and all my memories lead back to when we were very young. That is 5 or 6 years of age.

"Memories of spending the night at each other's homes. At Scott's home it was always wanting to have his (fuzzy) blanket. I would sleep on a cot next to his bed and he always shared his blanket with me, but he'd never part with it.

"At my home we thought we were special because we always got to eat breakfast at the dining room table.

"As years went by I realized it wasn't because of being 'special,' it was because my dad couldn't stand the sight or smell of the ketchup that Scott always put on his eggs.

"I'll never buy or see another bottle of ketchup without thinking of him.

"Scott was my Mack Park tennis partner, my purse trick partner, my snow-sledding partner, my co-Horace Mann jacks champ and my old folks home square-dance partner.

"But most of all, Scott was my friend. Together we learned at an early age how to act, how to trust others and the true meaning of friendship.

"For that I thank him because he was truly one of my first real friends.

"My husband's father passed away not too long ago and I came across this quote: 'When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.'

"Scott is a precious gem in my treasure of memories." (Angie Henry Hungate)

Lt. Commander Scott Zellem will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Sept. 7, about 1300 hours with full military honors.

Please join us by taking a few seconds out of your busy life and say a prayer for him, Jennifer, his wife; Tanner, his 1-year-old son; his mother and father, and the rest of his family.

Also during that prayer please keep the other 1,000 military personnel who will not be seeing the yellow ribbons or the rest of the outpouring of support we are showing for our troops.

In the old military movie the question is asked, "Where do we get these wonderful men?" That is an easy question to answer: our God.

Ronald HenryIndiana
©Indiana Printing & Publishing Co. 2004

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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