By Jack Hackley
It is probably the first time in history a defeated U.S. Congressman is so popular in his district that he cannot fulfill all the invitations to speak. Nor does he have time to pick up all the honors the different organizations want to bestow on him.
But that’s Ike Skelton.
When time allows, he normally accepts four speaking engagements a week, both in Washington, D.C. and Missouri. Different organizations, including Wentworth Military Academy, officers and organizations at Fort Leonard Wood, and Whiteman Air Force Base have bestowed honors on him. He has even been made an honorary Marine.
I attended the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award given Ike, which was a dinner attended by 600 people at $60 a head. That same week, he also spoke in Odessa at a dedication of a section of I-70 named after Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Joe Specker.
Ike had polio as a young man and could not serve in the military. If he could have, he probably would have become a general. His knowledge of the military and military strategy have long been known to surpass any one in Washington.
A few months ago, they unveiled Ike’s portrait that would later be hung in the Armed Forces Committee Room. I was told an event such as this normally is attended by 100 or less people. On a cold, windy, snowy night in Washington, over 400 people were present, 60 from the 4th Congressional District.
When a Washington insider found out I was from Ike’s district, he started telling me how much money Ike had saved the taxpayers by both the Goldwater/Nichols Act which he wrote, and his oversight of military spending while Chairman of the Armed Forces Committee. He asked the question “Are you Missourians nuts?”, and used an analogy by asking if I had a business with an employee who had made me millions and possibly billions of dollars, would you fire him?
Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075, jack...@aol.com. Visit www.jackremembers.com