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Give him back

Published December 05. 2009 09:00AM

Dear Editor:

So Jim Thorpe's family wants him back.

I say - "Go for it! Give him back, but to their expense."

I never understood the mentality of the men who run the town of Mauch Chunk. A great statesman named Asa Packer approached the men who run the town of Mauch Chunk and requested to build Lehigh University here. He had already gave great revenue to the town by building the Lehigh Valley Railroad. He built his home and his daughter's home on the hill behind the courthouse and now wanted to build a university. Can you imagine what this town of Mauch Chunk would be like today with Lehigh University being here? The money alone that would be spent by the students, as well as homes being built by the university personnel and the taxes being spent.

But the town's fathers had coal dust on the brain and said "No!"

A few years later a woman comes to down and approaches the town's fathers telling him that they will become rich and famous if they bury her husband - The great Jim Thorpe. It they do this and change the name of the town, the town will be forever rich and famous.

You see, Jim Thorpe was a great, no the greatest athlete in the world. But, unfortunately, he died penniless and an alcoholic. His wife had no money to bury him. So she worked her way around Pennsylvania to all towns with Indian names hopefully to find one that would be gullible enough to bury him and change the name to Jim Thorpe.

Well, the town fathers jumped at the chance. (There's that coal dust again.)

Are we rich and famous? No. Did his family care where he was buried. No. Do the tourists come here to see his memorial and go home? No.

The fact is of the U.S. population have no idea where Jim Thorpe, Pa. is. Three quarters of the U.S. population do not know that Jim Thorpe is buried here. And three people on Jeopardy a few months ago did not know the answer was "Jim Thorpe" was the all-American athlete.

In 1977, I was involved in a chaplaincy trainee program in Memphis, Tennessee. I wanted to make a collect phone call to my parents in Jim Thorpe, Pa. The operator asked me if Mr. Thorpe would accept the charges? I stated "No, Mr. Thorpe was a great athlete that is buried there and we changed the name of the town to Jim Thorpe." She laughed so hard she hung up on me.

Tourists come here, to Jim Thorpe, to see the beautiful view. We are the gateway to the Poconos. I can sit on my front porch and look at the beautiful Flagstaff Mountain in the fall and from my back yard, looms the beautiful Mt. Pisgah.

So the town's father's said no to a university, but yes to a dead Indian.

I say - let his spirit roam back in Oklahoma or wherever they want to take him. They should have the expense of removing the memorial and his body. We've spent enough on the up keep. After he is removed, we can build a beautiful memorial to all those who have served and fought in the Gulf Wars and who are there now and those who have died giving their life for us!!!

Give him back to the happy hunting ground with the rest of his family. Then change the name back to Mauch Chunk, a good Indian name.

Corrie Miller

Jim Thorpe

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