On August 19, 2020, a bridge in Tornado, West Virginia was named after the legendary U.S. Army Master Sergeant Richard A. “Bones” Smoot. You may remember the now-famous photographs of him riding through Afghanistan on horseback while hunting for the Taliban in early 2002. This is a petition to erect a statue of this man at the West Virginia State Capitol, and I’m asking you to sign below. Here’s why:
Born in 1948 in Crownhill, West Virginia, he served honorably in Vietnam as a young soldier. He went on to become a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha Team SGT conducting Combat Operations in Afghanistan in early 2002, and the Company Weapons SGT in Iraq in 2005 – 2006 while in his 50s. Dick was a “Whiskey 9” – meaning he was both Halo and Scuba Qualified. He was tragically killed in 2015 while doing what he loved most: riding his motorcycle. Although his family thought for sure they would lose Dick in some overseas combat zone, in the end it was a truck back home which recklessly crossed the centerline of a road.
Since I first posted on social media about the bridge in Tornado being named after him, I’ve talked to and heard from many of Dick’s friends, family and fellow service members. I’ve never personally heard of any one man having a more exceptional reputation; nor any family left behind who felt as proud. As difficult as it must have been to fight in multiple wars, across multiple continents, across multiple decades, Dick remained married to the love of his life throughout all of his decades of service. I had the pleasure of speaking to her the other day, as well as Dick’s daughter, Tangie, and it’s clear that they cherish his memory and miss him dearly. They gave me their blessing to attempt to make what I’m proposing become a reality.
This is a man who our children can look up to. For too long, our real heroes have been overshadowed by celebrities and athletes who are unworthy of the adoration they receive, and who set poor examples for our children, and who dishonor our country and our Flag. It’s been far too long that we’ve stopped building statutes of our military heroes. During this time when others seek to tear down our past, let’s set a new and better example about the importance of honoring our heroes, as well as our nation. West Virginia is a state with one of the highest per capita population of veterans, who comprise more than 10 percent of our population – many of those who served well beyond what could have been expected, such as Master Sergeant Smoot.
There may never again be a more fitting soldier of West Virginia to honor with a statue than “Bones” Smoot. I propose to build a real bronze statue, as we used to do in the past, of a bearded Master Sergeant Smoot on horseback, smile on his face, just as in the epic photos from 2002 Afghanistan. It would be a nod to our soldiers of past, who rode into battle on horseback, and would also honor the Mountain State’s veterans who served in the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, as well as Iraq. I propose that this statue of Master Sergeant Smoot on horseback be erected at the West Virginia State Capitol complex. The legislature goes into session on February 1, 2021. Let’s show support in numbers and collect a contact list of supporters. If the State won’t pay for it, we’ll start a fundraiser.
Who’s with me? – John H. Bryan
Your contact info will be added to the petition we will provide to the State Government, as well as for use as a mailing list for updates on this petition and these efforts. The main thing we need is name, city/state and the email address you prefer for updates and information on this petition. I know some people are gathering signatures off-line, which is great. Just forward them to my office, and I will add them to the list and the email list. (John Bryan Law, PO Box 366, Union, WV 24983).
Petition to build a statute of MSG. RICHARD A. "BONES" SMOOTRead or Edit the Petition
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