We honor all troops,
past and present,
who have stood against
tyranny around the
world to win the
freedoms we enjoy!
May God bless you!
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More recently, he acted in the powerful online video, Reveille (which tells the wordless,
unforgettable tale of two older soldiers and a morning flagpole ritual), then produced,
directed and acted in the sequel,
Old Glory (now available on DVD).

Along the way, he has also been an award-winning author of such well-known books as
Farewell to the Mockingbirds (1995), The Heroin Factor (1999), Say Goodnight to the Boys in
Blue
(2000), The Great Canis Lupus (2001), and Tell me a Tale: A Novel of the Old South
(2003).

Surprising to some, James considers what he did before acting or writing much more
important. As a North Carolina native who spent his formative years in New Jersey, he
served in the U.S. Army before and during the Korean War. He was wounded (nearly
fatally), requiring battlefield surgery (and additional surgeries afterward in Japan) to
save his life. He was eventually awarded both the Purple Heart and Silver Star.

During a recent interview, we asked him to explain why those early years in the armed
forces remain so important to him, compared to the better known career that came later.
His answer may surprise you.

I went into the military when I was seventeen, and I knew absolutely nothing about life. The military
helped me grow up and develop the character I would need for the rest of my life.

I joined the Army and stayed in it for three years, mostly in Japan with the 24th Infantry. I came
back to America after I served my time. I was discharged on July 5, 1950, and wouldn’t you know
it, the day after I was discharged, the Army froze all discharges because of what was starting to
happen in Korea. I was pretty upset. I was 20. I had been trained for war. I had learned discipline
and regimentation. I had learned to shoot machine guns and lob grenades. And now I was
missing it.

    One thing I learned in the Army, early on, was
    integrity. The military of our country through the years
    has been built on a sense of integrity. Even though
    you may or may not like the person standing beside
    you in a uniform, you were trained to serve together
    with a sense of pride and integrity. You knew that
    teamwork and working together could mean life or
    death. It’s more than discipline. It’s something almost
    indefinable.

    Even at seventeen years of age, I learned that
    nothing was impossible, that it could be done.
    I learned that truth and dignity were important.

And I learned to love my country, because it represented the best and finest. There was
something in all that I learned that tied me to the soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War and
every battle since then. It even made such an impression on me that the first President of our
country was also a military man. When the country called him to lead our new nation, he wanted to
do other things, but duty called him and he was there!

I served during the time leading up to the
Korean Conflict, then I re-enlisted so I
could go to Korea and see some action.
I really wanted to be on the front lines.
They assigned me to an engineering
company, which was the wrong place to
put me. I didn’t want to be an engineer.
I wanted to be in an infantry unit. Finally
I got my wish and ended up with the
Second Division.

We saw a lot of action in Korea. It was
fierce. We were in the Kumwha Valley.
I was reckless and lived dangerously, so
it wasn’t unusual for me to volunteer for
patrols.

On the night of August 11, 1951, we were on patrol, led by First Lieutenant Henry Schenk, one of
the bravest men I ever knew. He was cut down in a hail of gunfire. Soon afterward, I was injured
very severely, sustaining multiple wounds to the liver, spleen and both legs.

Eventually I wound up with a Purple Heart and Silver Star, but truthfully I didn’t feel that I deserved
the Silver Star, then or now. Who should have got it was Lieutenant Schenk. His bravery still
inspires me.

    A blond-haired young man
    saved me. I never saw him
    before and never saw him
    again. He pulled me to
    safety. I was bleeding from
    different places. I had been
    hit with a grenade and
    Chinese machine gun fire.
    One of the reasons I went
    back to Korea after I got
    operated on in Japan was to
    try and find the blond guy
    that saved me. I wasn’t there
    long the second time, and I
    never did find him.

    In many ways, what I have
    done through so much of my
    life since then has been an
    attempt to honor those two
    young man and so many
    others with whom I served
    who gave their lives so we
    can continue to enjoy our
    freedom.

You see the themes through my books. The lieutenant in Farewell to the Mockingbird is an older
version of the blond guy who saved my life. In
Say Goodnight to the Boys in Blue, the Danny
Carlton character honors the blond guy, as well. I have also tried to honor all the heroes who
served our country in my latest films,
Reveille and Old Glory.

Later, I looked for Lieutenant Schenk’s family for over fifty years. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t
think about him and the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country.

And hardly a day goes by that I don’t thank God for the blond-haired soldier who saved my life.

So now, here on MyBestYear.com’s WE WILL REMEMBER, I once again honor these two men.

I offer this tribute to the brave men of the “Indian Head” Second Infantry Division with whom I
served in Korea.

And I honor all the “Second to None” men and women (and all those from every military branch)
who continue to serve our country around the globe with pride and courage!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again here—as much as I enjoyed my acting career, I don’t want
“Actor” on my tombstone. I want “Soldier!” As crazy as it may seem to some people, I consider what
I did in the military and for the cause of freedom infinitely more important than anything I did as an
actor.

As I say on my Voices CD and wherever I am asked to address crowds:
    “No veterans, no democracy.
    No democracy, no America!”

In 2005, James McEachin—known worldwide for his powerful speeches, appearances
and tributes in behalf of the military and veterans' groups—was honored as an Army
Reserve Ambassador, giving speeches on behalf of the military and various veteran's
group. This distinction carries the protocol of a two-star general.

Most recently,
Old Glory—written, produced and directed by James McEachin, won the
2007 GI Film Festival Awards (GIFF), in the Short Film category, announced in
Washington, DC at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center.

For more information about James McEachin, go to his MyBestYears.com's
INTERVIEW
SPOTLIGHT.
JAMES McEACHIN
...Tribute to the Second Infantry Division

James McEachin began his amazing career as an actor during the
1950s. He was signed by Universal Studios, then cast in
numerous roles on television (including
Hawaii Five-O, Mannix
and
Dragnet) and motion pictures (including Play Misty for Me with
Clint Eastwood).

James is perhaps best known for portraying police lieutenant
Brock in the
Perry Mason television movie series and Harry
Tenafly, the title character in his own NBC detective series.
Constituted September
21, 1917 in the Regular
Army, the Second
Infantry Division 2nd ID
was organized on
October 26, 1917, at
Bourmont, Haute
Marne, France.

After World War I, the
division was stationed
at Fort Sam Houston, at
San Antonio, Texas, as
one of three divisions
to remain intact and on
Active Duty for the
entire interwar period.
The Indian Head
soldiers served as an
experimental unit,
testing new concepts
and innovations of air
mobility and anti-tank
warfare.

Since that time, the
“Second to None”
Division has served
bravely during World
War II, the Korean
Conflict, and most
recently in Operation
Iraqi Freedom. Today,
the 15,000-strong
Division continues to
serve with distinction
and courage.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.,
honors First Lieutenant Henry Schenk and all the men who
died during the Korean War.