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An odd, sad story for Memorial Day


ginnyfan
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I was researching the story of child actor Jimmy Butler for a Memorial Day tribute at the Virginia Weidler Remembrance Society and I came up with a really odd story no one would believe if you put it on television. If you haven't looked at the Weidler thread today, Jimmy was a child actor who was killed in France during the final months of World War II.

 

As a 19 year old, Jimmy met and married a 17 year old singer for Horace Heidt named Jean Fahrney. Farhney, who had been with Heidt since she was 14, quit the band to raise a family. They had two sons, Jimmy and Jerry.

 

 

Jimmy Sr. went off to war and, as I mentioned, was killed in action. Jean was left behind with a three year old and a six month old. A few years later, she met and married David Armstrong, a West Point graduate. They had a son and when that son was six months old, David was sent to Korea. Two weeks later, he was listed MIA and 3 and 1/2 years later declared dead. She married a third time, and completed her family with yet another son.

 

 

 

Jean third husband, Robert Flanagan, also predeceased her, but I presume through natural causes. Jean herself died of Parkinson's disease in 2007.

 

 

So in addition to Jimmy Butler, we also remember David Armstrong as well as Jean L. Flanagan, the woman who was wife to both and endured more than any loved one should have to.

 

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> {quote:title=Dargo2 wrote:}{quote}Wow, ginnyfan. I'd say if anyone ever epitomized John Milton's famous words, "They also serve who only stand and wait", it certainly would have been Jean here.

 

Certainly. I never thought I'd find a story like that. It just so happens that someone wrote a lovely and complete obituary for Jean and the entire story was there.

 

BTW, she was apparently a fairly accomplished singer. There is a Heidt CD available which clearly mentioned that she's featured on the cover.

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You helped drive the fact home that it wasn't only the soldiers and sailors that made sacrifices for this country.

 

 

For that, I thank you, ginny.

 

 

Sadly, these days and for the last couple of decades or so, these "holidays" meanings got lost in the belief that the best way to "honor" those who gave their lives, or suffered the loss of loved ones through service, is to barbecue meat and go boating and water skiing, and drink gallons of beer. Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day makes no difference. All America seems to only think of days off from work and the party.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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Yeah, good point Sepia.

 

But hey, look at it THIS way...Do ya have ANY idea how many good ol' American COWS gave THEIR all for all those BBQ'd hamburgers yesterday?

 

Ever think about THAT???

 

(...yeah, yeah, I KNOW...I'm much too irreverent sometimes, huh...sorry) ;)

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LOL

 

WAIT a sec here. This dude was servin' Japanese beef, and German beer and MEXICAN beer???

 

Well, as far as I know, our neighbors to the south were neutral in WWII, and so IF the guy wanted to keep a "theme" goin' on, shouldn't he have been servin' Peroni INSTEAD???

 

(...that's the problem with some guys, ya know...a lack of historical knowledge OR sometimes just a lack of "continuity", huh!) ;)

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I also thank ginnyfan for sharing this story.

 

It especially bothers me how holidays are now used more than ever as reasons for stores to advertise sales. The economy's faked so much anyway, I think it could survive letting shop workers & servers get to spend the day with their families & friends too, without having to show up so people could shop. Though I suppose some may prefer the pay to the day off. But Memorial Day is supposed to mean something, it's not just another long weekend. And if I could spend another Thanksgiving with my Grandma & Grandpa and great aunts, I wouldn't ditch them to wait in line at Wal-Mart.(Must admit that I'm glad glad Tony Kannan finally won Indy though.)

 

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Thanks, indeed, ginnyfan, for this sad reminder of the sacrifice made by many, including the wives and lovers on home soil.

 

My only viewing, I believe, of Jimmy Butler has been as a youth in No Greater Glory, which TCM has broadcast several times. Butler was cast as the leader of one of two gangs of boys who operate as small military groups, skirmishing with their "enemies" but also operating by codes of honour and willing to extend a respectful salute to a member of the enemy, on rare occasion.

 

No Greater Glory was an unexpectedly poignant little drama that dealt with alienated youth and the need to belong, but, primarily, the film served as an anti-war statement. Ironic indeed, considering the fate that awaited one of its young stars.

 

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No Greater Glory. Jimmy Butler's in the foreground.

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I saw a skit on SNL that, though intended probably just for laughs, drove this point home most profoundly( to ME, anyway).

 

 

Jon Lovitz was the owner of a store doing one of those self promoting TV ads, and announced his store having a BIG "Martin Luther King Day WHITE SALE!"

 

 

I smile to myself imagining many in commerce who still wonder what was so funny about that.

 

 

Sepiatone PS: Tom, Very good post.

 

 

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