Sunday, August 1, 2010

Three Brave Men

I apologize for not sticking with the theme of "bright colors." I just got up in the early morning and had an impulse to post this photo. Linda reminded me about the theme after I had this photo and text up.

I always look on August 1st as my "second birthday." Reason being, at approximately 11:57 a.m. on August 1, 1966, the "Tower Sniper" Charles Whitman, chose to shoot a high-powered rifle round through the body of a man standing about four feet to my right instead of me. (He died in a local hospital's ER about two-and-a-half hours after that.)

Largely because of the wonders of the Internet, I have managed to meet and become acquainted with many of the former police officers who ascended the University of Texas tower and took Whitman out that fateful day. On April 1, 2007, I was privileged to go to the top of the tower with them and relive the moments they spent up there.

Here you see three of them in the elevator they used on August 1, 1966, to reach the top. Left to right, they are Houston McCoy, Jerry Day and Phillip Conner. McCoy is the man who put two shotgun rounds in Whitman's head and ended the rampage at around 1:20 p.m. Jerry Day, armed with nothing more than his service revolver, was headed towards Whitman from the south side of the observation deck. Phillip Conner had stationed himself in the west window of the deck, trying to get a shot at the sniper from there. (Whitman was in the northwest corner.) If you want to read my account of what I went through, here is the link:

Forty-four years later, I can still remember so much about that day.


  1. I speech other than W.O.W!!!! I think it's a great photo of 3 very brave men indeed, and your story is chilling! Nice tribute!

  2. I remember this day. Long before 24 hour cable tv. Can you imagine what it would have been like, it if had happened today? You'd be all over tv screens, like it or not.

  3. Birdman-- as a matter of fact, there was a large photo of me in our local daily the next afternoon. I had come to campus that morning, wanting to study, but the Academic Center had been closed. Long story. But yes, I certainly have imagined what it would be like to day. Another thing-- can you imagine how many lives would have been saved if we had had cell phones back then? Also, if you ever catch it, two years later, they seem to be still running the same show on Discovery Channel about the incident and I have an interview in it.

  4. I will always remember this, attending summer school there at the time.