Thursday, March 8, 2012

Reflections on Trey

    After my "Fallen Warrior" post on Feb. 10 about Henry Lee Prather III -- "Trey" -- I received several e-mails and Facebook comments. Here is a sampling:

     Bruce McMellon: "You are on the mark about Trey. When my father was buried at Arlington, I went to "The Wall", to Panel 34E, Row 24. In a way, that was more difficult than my father's funeral. Trey left behind his future on earth, and it had so much promise. We know that God is putting together a fine football team, just from Woodlawn."

    Pam Shaw White: "The last time I saw him, he came by the house a few days before he left for Vietnam.  He was driving a convertible.  He seemed happy.  Who knew we would never see again."
    Dr. Leonard Ponder (one of Trey's junior high coaches):  "The teacher/student and coach/player code required the teacher or coach to maintain a wall (albeit a glass wall) between the two. So I didn't know Trey nearly as well as you did. I had little personal contact with him after he left Oak Terrace so we were never able to establish an adult relationship like the one you and I enjoy. I did recognize early on what a fierce competitor he was. Joe Ferguson tended to hang his head when he made a mistake. Some saw that as a weakness, but I saw it as his method for drawing internal strength to do better the next time. Trey, on the other hand, never hung his head. He kept his head high and one could almost see his resolve to not let that particular mistake occur again. I am sure his mistakes bothered him, but he was among the best at playing in the present---not letting the last play adversely affect the next one and not getting too far ahead of himself."
    Anonymous: "[We] were at Trey's funeral as well. Do you remember the pastor's story about a family in Baton Rouge who named their son Trey Prather and asked for a picture of Trey to keep for their son? I had forgotten it until one afternoon I Googled 'Trey Prather' and found that son's website. It really sent chills down my spine until I remembered the burial service and the preacher's story. The information on the web would confirm that he is the baby discussed at Trey's funeral.
    "My personal view is that Trey’s death is the result of an era when (for young men of a certain age), the draft was waiting for you if you could not (or chose not to) attend college or otherwise arrange for a deferment.  ... I can’t say that I think of Trey every day, but he is often on my mind.  I visit his grave every time I visit my parents’ graves at Forest Park West. I also make a point of mentioning Terry Bradshaw’s comments about Trey at every opportunity. In short, the Vietnam “war” left its mark on our generation and on our nation and its leadership. The WHS Class of ’65 has a personal reminder of that mark, as does the class of ’64 (Glen Ogburn). ... Sorry for the disjointed comments, but 44 years just seem like the blink of an eye."

     David Worthingon: "I wanted to respond to your article about Trey Prather…'Fallen Warrior.'  I am only slightly older than Trey and remember his high school feats at Woodlawn very well. I had played quarterback at FP when Joe Geter  was QB at Woodlawn. After my five years of college, I spent three years in the Army. I had gone through Army ROTC at Northeast and took a 2nd Lt. commission upon graduating and became an officer in the Transportation Corps. My first year was in Virginia, my second year in Vietnam, and my last year in California. It was a time that impacted my life significantly.
     "Last year, here in Monroe, I was involved with a group of people that worked with our Chennault Aviation and Military Museum in bringing “The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall” to our town. We had it here for three days around Veterans Day. It was an awesome event, and former soldiers treated it very reverently and respectfully. I made sure to look up the name of Trey Prather. Although, I never knew him personally, I felt connected to him through following his high school career and realizing what a superb athlete he was. I sadly learned of his death and remember feeling a sense of shock and loss.
     "Thank you for remembering him through the flow of your writing. ... I am a Vietnam Vet and there will always be a part of me that will honor and remember those 'Fallen Warriors' for how they fought for the freedom of an oppressed people group. There is never any shame in the tears that remember a fallen soldier. It is an appropriate way to show them honor and respect."

     Jim Robinson: "Trey's picture in the LSU uniform hangs in the foyer of the Woodlawn High School gym. There probably aren't a handful of students or athletes currently at Woodlawn that actually know what Trey means to Woodlawn High School and Woodlawn athletics. They should have an orientation class for all students and especially athletes that teaches them about the pride that we had to be part of one of the greatest athletic departments and one of the finest schools at the time in Shreveport."
     Bill Smith: "When people bring up Bradshaw, I always tell them that the best was Trey Prather. Although I was just a sophomore on the team when he was there, he was always the one we looked up to."

     Deborah Valentine Collins: "I visited the memorial in Washington DC and found Trey's name and traced it onto paper. I suspect there are lots of former Knights that did the same. Everyone loved Trey."

     Joyce Williams Brown: "Deborah, I agree with you, been there and as the Platters would have said, Many a Tear Must Fall when you see something so touching as this and know the person so well that it happened to. So touching to know that your classmate loved our country enouth to give his all!!! God bless him!"

     Herman Garner: "Trey was my hero growing up. Thanks for these beautiful words."

     Earl Hebert: " I visited the 'wall' in Washington several years ago. It was an emotional experience, one everyone from our era needs to share. I made sure we visited every one of the Woodlawn graduates that gave their lives for our country. I didn't know any of them very well, but at the time it sure felt like I had."

     Gary Ferguson: "My wife and I have also seen the Wall in D.C. I think I went thru a box of tissue. Not only did I see Trey's name but I saw other friends on the Wall who I knew when I was in Nam."

    Brenda Laird: "I will never forget where I was when I heard of Trey's death."

     Elizabeth Loftin: "I once saw Terry on TV tell the audience about the best, Trey Prather. Your blog brought tears to my eyes and an ache to my heart."
      Barbara Shaw Clark: "A meaningful and heart rending tribute to someone I had known from 4th grade on. We weren't close, but athletes seem to become a part of all students' lives. I was the one who told Palais Royal that Trey would pose for a photo in the football program ad when I was on on the ad staff. I had no clue if he would, but if it would help me sell the ad, I was going to try. Palais Royal had never bought an ad and I wanted badly to make that deal. I didn't get to attend the service held for Trey. I was expecting my first child and was extremely ill and weak. Jerry and I have been to The Wall in D. C. It took a while for us to go. Jerry had bad memories from Vietnam he had to deal with before he could go and we had several on The Wall we knew or knew those who survived them. I ran my fingers over each name and tears fell. Thank you for bringing back memories. While they are sad and are a part of my life I wouldn't want to relive, I'm glad I have them."


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