A few years ago, my friend and law partner, Paul Hickey called me and asked if I would take him to the gun range to shoot a handgun that had been his father’s, J.J. “Joe” Hickey. We met at my house on a Saturday morning and drove together to the gun range. Fortunately, the weather was calm and favorable for target practice.
After entering one of the range’s shooting pits, Paul uncased and handed to me a Colt Model 1911 .45 ACP handgun. The Model 1911 was invented over 100 years ago by a fellow from Ogden, Utah, named John M. Browning. Even by today’s standards it is an outstanding semi-automatic handgun.
The 70 year old Colt did not disappoint. It functioned flawlessly and was extremely accurate. As I fired the handgun I reflected upon its noble history. Joe Hickey was elected County Attorney for Carbon County, Wyoming shortly before World War II. Although he was exempt from the draft as an elected official, he chose to enlist in the United States Army in September of 1942. He selflessly and humbly entered the Army as a private. He was initially stationed at F.E. Warren, in Cheyenne. Shortly thereafter he graduated from Officers Candidate School in Fargo, North Dakota and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Joe Hickey carried his Army issued Colt Model 1911 .45 ACP hand gun with him when he was deployed to the European theater of the war in 1944. He was at Normandy in June of 1944.
Joe Hickey continued his service as an Officer in the Army in Europe until victory in Europe was achieved in May of 1945. His love of Country was reflective of so many brave men and women of the greatest generation. Paul shared with me that his Father did not talk about what he had experienced in World War II. He simply said “war is hell”.
At the conclusion of World War II, Joe Hickey returned to Rawlins, Wyoming, and resumed his law practice. He would later become Governor of Wyoming and served in the United States Senate in the early 1960s. He was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit before his untimely death in 1970.
Do not take for granted the soldiers who put their lives on the line and fought to protect this great nation. Their service protects our Bill of Rights which is set forth within our heavenly inspired Constitution.
In honor of God and in gratitude for those who He sent to protect you, please take time this week to do something special for a military veteran. You could take a veteran to lunch and give to him or her, a heartfelt thank you letter at the conclusion of your meal. Also, don’t hesitate to do something kind for those presently serving in our armed forces. If you see one or more military personnel having lunch, please consider picking up the tab. We can never do enough to properly thank those who wore or presently wear the uniform.