31 July 2017


by Andy Weddington
Monday, 31 July 2017

The dominant feeling of the battlefield is loneliness. William Slim 

Saturday morning past in a Washington, D. C. area hotel ballroom, in the company of about 150 Navy folks, the event host, a Navy admiral, interrupted the morning schedule and introduced Mr. McCloughan. The admiral then handed him the microphone to say a few words.

I'd never heard of Mr. McCloughan.

He, a short and stocky man with a head full of white hair, spoke but a few minutes and closed by singing a single sentence, "God bless the USA." 

The next afternoon while sitting in the hotel lobby and sketching it happened Mr. McCloughan and his wife sat about eight feet in front of me. They were in conversation with a couple of hotel staff. 

I quickly sketched Mr. McCloughan (limitations of mobile device prevents posting).

Their conversation lasted less than ten minutes. The hotel staff departed. 

I put my small sketchbook down, walked over and sat to Mr. McCloughan's port, and introduced myself to him and his wife. I told them I was in the ballroom Saturday morning. We spoke for about five minutes. 

I returned to my seat and sketching.

Shortly thereafter his wife came over and we spoke for ten minutes or so. She said they were small town folks and their trip to D. C. was a bit overwhelming. 

Such down-to-earth, pleasant folks. Humble. 

Who is Mr. McCloughan (pronounced: Mc Clue an), James C.?

Today, President Trump, in a White House ceremony, will drape the Medal of Honor around his neck.


During his ballroom remarks, Mr. McCloughan thanked the Navy - saying it was naval gunfire that ultimately saved his life and the other survivors of the battle. 

He told the Navy crowd (and me the following day) the real heroes did not make it out alive and to honor them he'll wear the medal.

How fortuitous to meet these folks. And honor to shake that brave Soldier's hand.

The impromptu fitting end to this story ...

As he was leaving the hotel lobby, some 20 paces away, Mr. McCloughan turned, made eye contact with me, and saluted. I returned it. 


Jijm Bathurst said...

Wow, what a story Andy. What a wonderful story! Thank you for making my day, a Monday at that.

Tom Hickinbotham said...

I just watched the MOH presentation ceremony in the Whitehouse on TV.
What a brave, humble and heroic man. Wow!!