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Obituaries > GORBY, DANNY L.

Editor, The Arizona Republic:

The Republic printed a letter by Diane Dowd Olson. I didn’t care much for it.

There is a hurricane of change, she said. Societal foundations are focusing on individual integrity. Even students from kindergarten on have their “rights.” The pledge of allegiance – an archaic ritual.

Ordinarily this dogma – positive, arrogant assertion of principle – would send me into a towering rage. This time, no. My mind goes back three days. Only three days, and the feeling – sadness.

It was thirty years to the day. At 21 he took a Japanese bullet through the head on Okinawa. At 51, after years of torment and suffering, he is dead [April 14, 1975].

The bullet severed the optic nerve. He was blind, and shrapnel remained to make pain his constant companion.

At first he bore it well. I remember his succession of seeing-eye dogs. He would ride horses, he swam in our pool. He seemed to enjoy life, had a great sense of humor, was a magnificent teller of tales. He had married a fine woman who devoted her life to him. They had a daughter, now a college graduate, doing well on her own.

I asked him how he felt about it all.

“No regrets,” he told me, “I would do it again. The best friends I ever made were in the Marines.”

From a Nebraska farm to Okinawa to a cemetery in Tucson. Danny Gorby was an American. An American in the service of his country.

Would Dan Gorby pledge allegiance to the flag?

You bet he would. He and some others kept his country in one piece for you and me and Diane Olson.

Rest in peace, Dan Gorby. Thank you for what you have given. God rest your soul.

JOHN WALLACE