Clinton S. Thomas, Th.D.

Clinton S. Thomas, Th.D.

A published writer of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction in both the digital age and the pre-digital age of publishing. Currently serving as editor and writer for the Four States News, all while living life across the four states region from Texarkana, USA. (http://clintonsthomas.com/)

Recent Articles

A Working Memorial in Arkansas Twenty Years After 9/11

For the witnesses of September 11, 2001, it is hard to believe it has been twenty years now after those shocking and horrific morning hours when the United States was attacked.  Since that time, we have spent twenty years hunting down those responsible, waging war on terrorism, grieving, rebuilding, and building memorials.  There are countless memorials across the nation and the world commemorating those who died that day.  The memorials celebrate the lives, the heroes, and the legacy of those lost. However, in a small town in northeast Arkansas, one memorial serves as a reminder of the loss of one of their own and functionally serves the community. 

While most memorials remember the person, the moment, or an event, the memorial to Sara Low serves the community as a dog park.  Sara Low was a native of Batesville, Arkansas.  Batesville is the oldest city still operating in Arkansas, and it was the home where Low grew up.  She attended school in Batesville, her family worked and lived there, and she left to work for the airlines.  On September 11, 2001, as her parents watched Sara’s beloved cat at their home in Batesville, Sara, at just 28 years of age, boarded a flight as a member of the crew of Flight 11 from Boston to California. 

In the aftermath of the attacks, it is believed that Sara worked to help passengers remain calm on the flight, but she is also credited with providing the telephone calling card used to give important information to the ground.  Later as America moved to find those responsible, Sara’s wings were sent to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. So while Sara could do no more after September 11 for her country and citizens, her wings were carried into the battles against terrorists as a reminder to the troops and as a small way she could continue to make a difference. In February of 2020, the city of Batesville broke ground on a project for their own memorial for Sara Low and September 11.  Sara had a long history of love for animals.  She was known to take in strays, help them, and care for them as a child.  Her parents and the community decided that they wanted a functioning memorial.  They wanted something to celebrate Sara, her love of animals, and to serve the community where she was raised.  The groundbreaking was the first step in the building of what would become The Sara Low Memorial Dog Park. 

Today the park can be visited along the walking path near Riverside Park.  The Sara Low Memorial Dog Park has been featured nationwide in articles, news reports, and shows.  It is built with rock from Batesville with sitting spaces, off-leash areas for dogs, and other amenities associated with a park to serve dogs and their owners. 

For a  community that still mourns Sara Low after twenty years, the park serves as a reminder that the good of the many people that died on September 11, 2001, can never be forgotten or taken for granted.  Sara Elizabeth Low will forever be remembered as one of the victims of 9/11. Continue Reading →

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Four States News Adds School COVID Search to COVID Page

Arkansas: The Four States News has updated the COVID information page to include a link to data for school COVID infection rates. The link can be found on the COVID Information Page just below the “More Deadly than the Flu” Chart. Click on the link, Arkansas COVID School Search, and the reader will be taken to an outside database which is keeping up with infection rates in Arkansas schools since August 16, 2021. In addition to the school resources, other information such as state, national, and global COVID infections may be tracked on the Four States News page. The cover page also features a red header which will take readers directly to the page, Four States News. Continue Reading →

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Dancing Ranch Farms Pumpkin Patch 2021

Fouke, AR: The Dancing Ranch Farms will have a grand opening on September 17, 2021, and just in time for the fall season. The ranch is located in Fouke, Arkansas, and on Miller County Road 218 at 490. The “Pumpkin Patch” will feature hayrides, games, a haunted maze, and much more. After the grand opening day, events will be held Fridays from 7 pm to midnight, Saturdays from 11 am to midnight and Sundays midday from 2 pm to 8 pm. The Dancing Ranch Farms is operated by Ronnie and Susan Dancer of Fouke. Continue Reading →

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The COVID-19 Impact in Arkansas

Opinion: COVID-19 is no joke, and I strongly disagree with anyone who says it is a joke, conspiracy, or something not to be taken seriously. It is getting to where more families are being impacted by this disease. If the family is lucky, there will be a mild case, but in others, death comes knocking with a brutal vengeance. While people still debate the virus, masks, and the vaccine, few of those people at the edge of death debate it. In fact, the majority of the people showing up in the hospitals, ending up on ventilators, and eventually dying are often begging for the vaccine when they initially come in the door sick. Continue Reading →

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2A Fun Shoot in Texarkana on August 14

2A Fun Shoot

Texarkana, AR: The Miller County Republican Committee (MCRC) will host its first 2A Fun Shoot at Rocky Creek Outdoors in Texarkana, Arkansas, on Saturday, August 14. Those interested can obtain additional information online. The event will include several contests throughout the day and starts at 8 a.m. Participants may join one or all events. Events will consist of a 100 Sporting Clay event, 5-Stand event, 50 Target 16 Yard Trap event, and more.

Registration is online, and participants are not required to pay until arrival at Rocky Creek Outdoors. There will be a raffle and door prizes as well. Continue Reading →

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TWU to Resume Late Fees and Disconnections August 1

Texarkana Water Utilities (TWU) will resume late fees and disconnections on August 1, 2021, according to Pamela White, the Administrative Coordinator for TWU. Questions or concerns may be directed to (903) 798 3800. TWU also wishes to remind customers that online services may be used. Payment Options and Pay Online are available on our website athttps://twu.txkusa.org. Continue Reading →

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July 4, Fireworks, Shows, Parades, and God

Flag

It started with a suggestion in June, followed by a meeting on July 2, and finally a formal signing on July 4, 1776.  From that moment on, the cry would go up around the world that the colonies of the North American Continent, all thirteen of them, had declared independence from Great Britain.  Like any country, Britain would not take kindly to losing the colonies.  In fact, no country in the history of the world has ever simply said, “Sure, go ahead and leave us and take all the investments we made into your area with you.”  No, instead the greatest empire in the world set out to reclaim the colonies and force them back into the British realm.  The rest of the story, you know as the United States won independence in the war that followed.  To this day, we still hear our friends across the pond in England wish us a “Happy Traitor’s Day.”  Naturally, this is done more in good humor now that we are friends so many years after the revolution. The founding fathers were by no means blind to the fact that they were setting in motion something that would be celebrated for years, and perhaps forever.  John Adams wrote to his wife of the importance of the entire event that officially started on July 2 and ended on July 4.  He sent his letter on July 3, 1776 that included the following statement:

“The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” Continue Reading →

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Juneteenth National Independence Day

Opinion: Juneteenth is now a national holiday, but it has always been in the hearts and minds of many. Perhaps not surprisingly, some Americans have never known about Juneteenth. Texas for years has celebrated the holiday as a state holiday, but it’s likely many taking a holiday did not know the true significance of the celebration. While the historic event was certainly not the official end of slavery in the United States, it has become a celebration of the symbolic end of slavery for all Americans.

Historically speaking, Lincoln’s great Emancipation Proclamation did little to free slaves. The proclamation ended slavery in the states in rebellion, but few realize that it left slavery in full operation in five states. Five slave states remained in the Union during the Civil War and were not subject to the proclamation. The enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation depended on the arrival and control in rebellion states by Union forces. The Five slave-states remaining in the Union during the Civil War waited until December to see the end of slavery. While slavery might end in one state, it may well have still been in operation in another state or territory. Because of the various dates slavery ended, no historian can say with certainty when it ended for any individual man, woman, or child. Despite this fact, Juneteenth day has a long history of being the celebrated date for the end of what President Biden calls America’s “Original Sin.”

What Juneteenth does hold over all other potential dates for the end of slavery is the fact it is the oldest celebrated date for the end of slavery in the United States. It has been called Jubilee Day, Black Independence Day, and Emancipation Day. In history, it is the day Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, under the command of General Gordon Granger and shared the Emancipation Proclamation three years after it had been signed.

If you could step back in time, imagine being in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. It’s a hot day. Business is likely going on as usual. Maybe you are a slave, maybe you are free, but all you know for certain is that a Union group of soldiers have arrived. If you are enslaved, you may be standing near your owner, or you are working, or maybe you’re in town to pick up some supplies. This group of Union men moves through the city reading Army General Order Number 3 to everyone. Crowds would have likely followed them. They would have heard it read several times. To some, it must have been a shock, unbelievable, or even as the old saying goes, “Too good to be true.” By the time the group reaches a church on Broadway, there must have been many people following and asking questions. As the order was last read at the church, this is what they would have heard, had explained to them if need be, but come to understand as the day Freedom arrived in Galveston:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere. “Juneteenth”. Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Many would naturally be confused, but within that order, four words would have struck home for any person in slavery… “all slaves are free.” From the small island of Galveston, the word would spread through songs, messages, and across the land, “All Slaves are free.”

June the 19th, 1865, would become the day that all citizens of the United States would recognize that after 89 years, for the first time, all people in the United States could cling to the words of the Declaration of Independence. Continue Reading →

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TFBMW Rally Set to Start Friday

Texarkana, USA: Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall (TFBMW), a non-profit 501(c) 3, will hold their 2021 rally this Friday through Sunday at the Texarkana Arkansas Convention Center. June 11 through June 13 will mark the annual rally with pre-registration at $60 for singles or $100 for couples. The cost of admission will include a Rally T-Shirt, patch, and access to all the weekend events, including the Friday and Saturday night meals. The doors will open Friday at 4 pm, and Saturday at 7 am.

The rally is open to all motorcyclists and the general public. There will be vendors present, Friday night bike games, meals, meet and greets, and Karaoke. Saturday morning will feature guided bike rides, an auction, and a bike and car show that will start at 12:30. Dinner Saturday will be served from 6 pm to 8 pm.

White Trash Wannabees will provide music. Sunday morning will feature a free breakfast from 9 am to 11 am, followed by a Biker Church Service at 11 am. Pre-registration can be completed online at the organization’s site TFBMW.org. For more information or to register, go online to the TFBMW home page at TFBMW.org or to the Facebook Page. The Texarkana Arkansas Convention Center is located at 5200 Convention Plaza Dr. in Texarkana, Arkansas. Google Map to the Convention Center. Continue Reading →

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Memorial Day 2021

Multiple cities have claimed to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, but in 1966 the government officially declared Waterloo, New York, as the national holiday birthplace.  The debates on the home of Memorial day came to a close, but the history remains unchanged.  Memorial Day was born on May 5, 1868, under Army General Order Number 11.  The order recognized Memorial Day, then called Decoration Day, by stating,  “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”  On that first Memorial Day, over 20,000 graves of both the Union and Confederacy in Arlington cemetery were decorated with flowers. 

After the first Memorial Day, several states celebrated it.  Some celebrated at the end of May as the original date, and others chose their dates.  In World War I, the holiday transformed from commemorating those who died in the Civil War to celebrate the service of those who died in any war.  The National Holiday Act of 1971 made the last Monday of May the holiday’s official date for all fifty states.  It has since become a tradition to recite the poem “On Flanders Field” each memorial day in various countries.  

This Memorial Day is no different than any other.  We now have more wars, more conflicts, and more men and women to remember than before.  Our country has been involved in wars from the Revolution to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Lives have been given both on this continent and around the world.  It is fitting and appropriate that during this three-day weekend, as you celebrate or relax, you should take a moment to remember.  

There are counties today where freedom is not allowed. There are people still to this day seeking admission, acceptance, and the opportunity to become citizens of the United States. Every day they come from countries around the world. They seek freedom, they seek possibilities, and they seek the life of the American Dream. Sadly there are those in this country claiming the American Dream is dead. They claim Socialism or some other form of government should be in place. They seek to change, modify, and even put away the freedoms promised by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We must remain vigilant to honor those who have given their lives to protect our freedom.

On this Memorial Day 2021, put down the burger, put down the hot dog, pause, and remember. Someone died so that you could eat that food in peace, in the home of the brave, and in the home the most desired state of existence in the world, in a state of freedom. That freedom was not free, and it will not be in the future. So take that moment to remember that someone died so that today you can look to a brighter future filled with freedom.
Continue Reading →

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