I find this an interesting read and it brings to my mind a few thoughts. One is about the circumstances surrounding the burial. And the other is about how writers (McClure, Graham, Silverman, and others) feel as if they have license to speculate without referencing or doing proper research.
First thought ... the author obviously relied heavily
on Graham's book without questioning anything in it. In my mind Silverman was looking at writing something quickly without having to do much homework. Too bad. I will give him credit for digging up details of the will - the Forest Lawn versus Arlington National Cemetery issue is something I have known for a long time, through Larryann. It seemed wise not to speculate on the website about the reasons of why Arlington was selected and not Forest Lawn. I have never really discussed it until now.
Larryann told me on more than one occasion that Audie's burial at Arlington National Cemetery was something that has troubled and concerned Terry Murphy. While he understands the historical significance of his father being buried at Arlington he now knows it was his father's wish to be buried at Forest Lawn. I sense that Terry feels as if somehow, his father was let down by the final decision to disregard his final wish.
To those who are troubled about Audie not wanting to be interred at Arlington, I think he didn't want to distract from all the real heroes, those whose only crosses were made of stone (to loosely borrow from something Audie once said). I believe his desire to be buried in a private cemetery, like Forest Lawn, is perfectly consistent with him not wanting to capitalize or draw attention to himself for his heroic feats.
With that said, Audie wanted a "modest" funeral. At the time of his death, the family had no money. The funeral at Arlington was provided by the government and in this sense, it satisfied the terms and conditions of Audie's will. At the time, the country was still engaged in a war and the burial details and military mechanisms for providing for a deceased soldier's family a government funeral in a military cemetery were well-oiled and in full swing. The actual cost of that funeral to the family was probably close to nothing and knowing how financially destitute Pam and the kids were, this was probably a primary factor in deciding where Audie was interred.
To suggest that the family had an option (Forest Lawn ain't cheap) is to suggest that a lot of benefactors and caring people were out there and would have made the arrangements and covered the costs for the family. When you look at the "friends" who showed up to the memorial in LA and the burial at DC, those caring friends capable of paying for a private funeral are hard to count.
My guess is that the family was on an emotional roller coaster at that time. Pam has always struck me as emotionally delicate too. I can well imagine that shortly after the death occurred, when the military survivor assistance officer was explaining to her the options she had, she chose one that was most reasonable for her and the family. The Arlington option put most, if not all of the funeral details and expense in the hands of the government. Pam didn't have to do much work at all on managing the funeral. She pretty much let the military handle it all. This made it simple and a lot easier on her and the boys.
Why Audie's headstone at Arlington was not a MOH headstone is something I am unclear about. Maybe those headstones require the family to pay extra money. I do know that the government will fund certain basics on a military funeral. Families who want to "upgrade" can do so, but the extra expense is on them. The basic military headstone is provided free. A MOH headstone may also be free. But maybe the family felt Audie would not want the special headstone because he wasn't attached to his awards. The undecorated headstone does underscore that Audie was very humble about his accomplishments. I think the unadorned military headstone, if he had to have a government marker, was in keeping with the spirit of Audie's will and wishes.
Last of all, after typing up hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of documents which you good people have found and provided, I am struck by the absence of anything reliable that states that Audie had extra-marital affairs.
To me, the provision in the will about other people stepping forward claiming to be his offspring is a standard line that is routinely inserted by all lawyers whenever executing a will. It is not meant to suggest that Audie had any children out of wedlock and as such, cannot be used to assume he therefore had lots of mistresses.
Think carefully about it ... how many people stepped forward when Howard Hughes, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson and others died? How many were proven later to be nothing more than opportunists trying to earn an undeserved buck? I may be a hick from northeast Texas, but if you speculate on the "significance" of the statement in the will which refutes any other claims of people who step forward claiming to be children or descendants of Audie, you are going way out on a very thin limb.
The closest thing I have seen about Audie's infidelity was in something McClure wrote after Audie's death. He mentioned something about Audie having affairs with an Italian girl and others while on a pass in Italy. Another article was on the Gofstein incident when Audie beat up the dog handler who had been hired by his girl friend. There was also the "slapping" incident when Audie confronted the two young men parked outside a "girlfriend's" apartment selling vacuum cleaners.
I have a big problem with McClure's story. Yeah, he was Audie's friend in the early years, but I don't believe Audie was the "kiss and tell" type. Where the heck was McClure
when this incident happen? He wasn't in Italy. How did he come across the information? Did Audie tell him? Hmmmm ... sounds suspicious to me. Where are the corroborating accounts - surely there were soldiers from Audie's former unit that could have been interviewed before McClure and Graham just tossed the information out to the public. No? Maybe Silverman found someone to interview? No? Well, who the heck did? I guess no one had the time.
The other two articles? I have the same problem with them. The details are too sketchy. They are unreliable, if anything, simply because they aren't confirmed by anything or anyone else.
I am not saying that Audie didn't have extra-marital relationships. But I am saying that I am disgusted by professional writers that have "speculated" about the three incidents above, without credible, corroborating information. Their speculation becomes quoted and requoted and the next thing you know, everybody swears its true, someone does a movie about it, and the distortions are now history. Worse, future writers are given new salacious bits of info to speculate on and write about in sequels.
If you are going to write about it, then do your homework and do it right. Don't waste your reader's time with innuendo or "maybes". Be accurate and credible as you write.
Anyway, it saddens me that the speculation of "professional" writers has made Audie into an "adulterer" and a "womanizer" ... two words I have heard many, many times from people in my 15+ years working this website. People who use those words are strangely silent when I say to them "cite your sources". Usually, there are none. Rarely, they refer to Graham, McClure or one of the incidents above. (Geeze, is that the best they can do?)
I'm done. Don't hesitate to set me straight ... I know I get things wrong sometimes.