Wednesday, November 1, 2017

From Texas Rangers to Confederate Veterans

On Tuesday, October 17, I met Casey Eichhorn at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in Waco. Casey is the Education Coordinator at the Ranger Hall of Fame, and it's been my pleasure to work with Casey on several previous occasions on Ranger programs. Casey had invited me to be one of the speakers at a four-week series with a Lifelong Learning group sponsored by Baylor University. The topic he asked to speak on was "Reel Rangers," based on a book I had written by the same title. I had a PowerPoint from previous presentations, and Casey - an accomplished techie - agreed to operate the PowerPoint. Indeed, he located an important image I never before had found and inserted it in the PowerPoint.


Members of the audience responded with familiarity to many of the Texas Ranger movies I talked about, as well as the memorable TV mini-series Lonesome Dove, based on Texas author Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Of course, one of the co-stars was another Texan, Tommy Lee Jones, who later starred as a Texas Ranger in the movie Man of the House.

Holding up an authentic silver bullet

Every Western movie star, from Tom Mix to John Wayne, at least once played a Texas Ranger - except for Randolph Scott, who was the exception that proves the rule. I talked about the most famous of all fictional Rangers, the Lone Ranger, who was the star of a radio series for 20 years, as well as a TV series, two movie serials, and several motion pictures. I mentioned the Ranger treatment by novelists, from Zane Grey to Larry McMurtry to Elmer Kelton. Ranger statues also are important to the public reservoir of memory about Texas Rangers. After I fielded a few questions, Casey led the group through the Texas Ranger Museum, a magnificent cultural reflection of the iconic Texas Rangers.

Casey Eichhorn in his office with the Lone Ranger
The following week I drove to Tyler at the invitation of Johnnie Holley, who recently stepped down as national commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Johnnie's lovely wife, Norma, also has served as leader of the Order of the Confederate Rose, and she remains active in the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Johnnie and Norma have traveled incessantly around the nation in support of their volunteer duties. Johnnie still acts as commander of the Tyler chapter of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars. Almost all of the members also belong to the Tyler camp, or chapter, of the SCV. The Tyler SCV chapter is exceptionally active, and a few months ago was recognized  as the Number One SCV camp in the nation - for the second time in the past three years.

On several occasions during the past few years Johnnie has invited me to speak on a Civil War topic to this remarkable group. It was a privilege to provide another Civil War program in Tyler, and a pleasure to see Johnnie and Norma Holley, two of the most active members in Civil War groups in Texas and the nation.    

With Johnnie and Norma Holley


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