Writing Memorial Day columns trouble me. Since I’ve been a scribe, Memorial Day occasionally falls on the same day my uncle, Joseph T. Laslie Jr, 2nd Lieutenant, 2/4 Marines, died in Vietnam, May 25. Regardless it is always in the vicinity. The University of Georgia ROTC building has a memorial with his name along with all UGA graduates who died serving the country. I don’t smoke cigars, but I will this weekend. Before he left for Vietnam, he chastised my dad about his cheap cigar. When my wife’s not looking, I will light one up for you, Semper Fi.

Before the ceremonies end, some pundit will claim the conflict in Afghanistan is our country’s longest war, but they are wrong. Left out of most history books, the United States fought Seminole Indians in Florida for four decades, albeit intermittently, from 1816-1855. By one account, the US Army had more casualties during the Seminole conflict than with any other tribe. One of the first forward operating bases, Fort Scott, is now a Lake Seminole island. While a few troops died in combat, disease was a more fearsome enemy, and the garrison abandoned it within a few years. In South Georgia, there is a small cemetery with the remains of soldiers who died there.

The late singer/songwriter Gamble Rogers, born in Winter Park, tells the story of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, “the day hell broke loose just north of Marietta along the Kennesaw Line,” through a rebel soldier’s eyes. All though mortal enemies, Rogers’ protagonist pities “the poor Yankee bastards who died so far from home.” General Sherman didn’t make many mistakes in the Georgia campaign, but Joe Johnson outsmarted him at Kennesaw Mountain. After the war, General Sherman often spoke on the futility of war; he should know.

I’m Asking For a Friend

Okaloosa County announced plans to use $4.8 million of Tourist Development Council (TDC) tax revenue to kickstart the “Destin Bypass.” Ostensibly, the project will relieve U.S. Highway 98 traffic congestion, but locals will benefit not only with an easier commute but also a lower property tax obligation. It boggles the mind how our neighbors seized opportunities to use TDC money while we look for ways to raise local taxes. Walton County studies a pier while Okaloosa and Bay add infrastructure improvements and expand first responder solutions. Here’s a novel idea. Make Walton County beach safety year-round with TDC money. We advertise the shoulder season so we might as well keep them from drowning. Gamble Rogers was an American hero and died in the Atlantic trying to save someone from drowning. If a lifeguard had been on duty, Gamble Rogers would have lived longer. Gamble’s words, “The Lord gives me grace and the Devil gives me style” should be Florida’s motto and speak to the duality of man.

You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP can help figure out what you need. For specific recommendations, visit livingstonfinancial.net or come by the office in Redfish Village, 2050 Scenic 30A, M-1 Suite 230.