Letters to the Editor August 21, 2002

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 20, 2002

An open letter about his court martial

Dear Editor:

Last spring a local citizen handed me an envelope, sent to him from out of state, containing miscellaneous information relating to the U.S. Army Court-Martial case of Private Leon B. Rushing, in Korea, in 1951.

In 1950, prior to turning eighteen, I accepted the risks of war and swore an oath of duty to this nation truly believing that America was everything it represented itself to be.

On the night of 30 March 1951, the last time a U.S. Army 45 was pressed to my head and cocked I no longer owed my family and this nation a duty of death. I owed this nation a sworn duty to live so the truth could live and remedy for others.

On 11 May 1951, I personally read, word-for-word, exactly what was announced, word-for-word, to me on 22 May 1951 to be a lawful U.S. Army Court Martial decision. The next morning I was forced, at gun point, inside a wire cage for public viewing. A silently weeping young Korean girl, her father, and a young boy were required to sit nearby facing me.

By using indications and a few words I managed to communicate to that young girl that she was not responsible for my fate, that she was Number One. I also bowed to her, to say thank you. She then managed a smile through her tears. Her father stood up, bowed to me, and quickly moved them out of sight.

I first saw that young girl a few mornings before 30 March 1951 when I was faced with a duty to be certain, and ultimately removed enought straw to expose her head, face, and left shoulder. What I saw that first morning was a child of war.

Before the military court an appointed officer of the court stood up, loudly palm slapped the desk top, and scolded that smiling child of war for uttering the words: "Short GI nice GI."

I did not swear a duty to this nation to accept perpetual criminal runover and treason as justice under the American flag. I never violated any law whatsoever and I never wronged anyone.

Burl Rushing

Born an American citizen 21 Sept. 1932.