First Brick Laid at War Memorial - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/16/03

First Brick Laid at War Memorial

"Telephone calls have been coming in, and everything's different," said Ray Brookshire. The first call came in the morning, and when Ray's wife hung up the phone, she could barely contain herself. "It took a while before I could understand her, she was so excited," said Ray.

The news? The brick she had bought to commemorate her husband's military career had been selected to be the first brick placed in the Lubbock Area Veteran's War Memorial. "We appreciate it, I do," he said.

WWII POW Recalls Captivity
Held in a Japanese slave labor camp in WWII, Ray Brookshire empathizes with the POW's in Iraq.
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His face may look familiar. He was interviewed on NewsChannel 11 seven months ago during the war with Iraq. American soldiers had been captured and Brookshire had experience. WWII. POW. Three and a half years in a Japanese slave labor camp. "I don't know about torture, but I was beat. My head was swollen up twice the size it is now, and my ear was banged up," he said.

On top of his own suffering, he witnessed the anguish of others. "The Major had one of his eyeballs hanging down by his cheek. And the next morning he was still fighting and that eye was still down there," he recalled.

60 years later, the name Ray Brookshire was randomly selected from a pile of bricks to be the vanguard for a generation of heroes. Call it chance, call it serendipity, call it appropriate.

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